Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here on Wednesday rejected the discharge petition filed by state General Education Minister V Sivankutty and five others in the 2015 Assembly ruckus case, serving a setback for Kerala's ruling LDF, The News Minute reports.
The CJM Thiruvananthapuram directed the six accused to appear before the court on November 22 to hear the charges on them.
In addition to Sivankutty, the other five accused were former Ministers EP Jayarajan, KT Jaleel and K Ajith, CK Sadasivan and K Kunhammed, who were opposition MLAs during the assembly ruckus incident. At the moment, both Sivankuttya and Jaleel are members of the State Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, reacting to the court, Opposition leader VD Satheeshan said Sivankutty has no moral right to continue as minister. He said the court had rejected their petitions considering the visuals of Sivankutty and others destroying public property.
In September last year, the trial court had rejected the LDF government's plea to withdraw the case filed on the commotion. The court noted that allowing the case's withdrawal would send a wrong message to society. On July 28, the Supreme Court also rejected the Kerala government's plea to quash the case, saying privileges and immunities "are not gateways" to claim exemptions from criminal law that governs every citizen's action. The court further observed that destruction of public property could neither be equated with freedom of speech in the legislature nor with forms of legitimate protests available for an Opposition.
The case was registered, during the previous Ommen Chandy's UDF government, under IPC sections 447 (criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage), read with section 34, and Sec 3(1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act.
The Kerala legislative assembly had witnessed unusual and weird scenes on March 13, 2015, when the Opposition LDF tried to prevent then Finance Minister KM Mani from presenting the state budget. The Opposition was protesting because Mani was facing charges in the bar bribery scam. The protesters flung the speaker's chair from the podium, allegedly damaged electronic equipment, including computers, mikes etc., causing a loss of Rs 2.20 lakh.