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Alleged anti-women remarks by minister Mani "serious": HC

Alleged anti-women remarks by minister Mani serious: HC

Kochi: The High Court Friday termed as "serious" the allegation that state Power Minister M M Mani made "unsavoury" remarks against women at a recent public meeting at Kunchithanni in Idukki.

The observation was made by a high court's vacation bench of justices P N Ravindran and P V Asha, while hearing a plea by Kerala resident George Vattukulam, who has sought a court- monitored probe into the allegations that Mani made the "sexually-loaded, anti-women statements" at a public meeting.

While hearing the plea against Mani, the court asked the state counsel if the Kerala police chief was not aware of it.

The bench posed the query as the state counsel opposed Vattukulam'a plea. The bench then also directed the petitioner to produce the CD of the minister's speech and the copy of the complaint made to police in this regard.

The state counsel opposed the plea, contending that the petition was not maintainable as the petitioner ought to have approached the police or a magisterial court for a probe into the matter.

The counsel denied that the minister made any derogatory remarks against women. He added he was mentioning about media persons during his speech.

At this, the high court observed that the media persons too have their fundamental rights.

The bench subsequently posted the matter for for further hearing on next Tuesday.

The petitioner has alleged that Mani had used abusive language against women leaders and activists of 'Pembilai Orumai,' a group of plantation workers in Idukki district who had organised a month-long stir in Munnar last year.

"The respondent is a habitual offender and regularly uses abusive language and sexually-loaded statements especially against the women," the petition said.

Mani, however, had refuted the allegation against him on the floor of the state assembly. He had told the assembly that he had not used any offensive language against women.

"I have not used the word woman even once in my 17-minute speech," which, he claimed, had been edited by the media, a section of which was against him.

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