Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition of Kerala Assembly walked out of the house proceedings on Thursday when the LDF government turned down their demand the resignation of the General Education Minister V Sivankutty, who is one of the accused in the case related to the ruckus inside the House in 2015.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected the state government's plea to withdraw the prosecution criminal case charged on five members of the house including the current General Education Minister V Sivankutty. The 2015 incident took place when the then Finance Minister KM Mani was presenting the budget which the then LDF opposition blocked and in the melee that followed the opposition members damaged the furniture and equipment inside the assembly hall. The cases charged against the members responsible for the act were mainly for damaging public property.
KM Mani was accused of corruption in the bar bribe scam and the LDF was in a campaign to remove him from office. Paradoxically enough, KM Mani's son. Jose K Mani is now part of the current ruling front following a pre-election realignment of forces in the state, when the Kerala Congress-M split and the Jose K Mani faction was inducted into the LDF.
On Thursday, the opposition, during the zero hour, moved a notice for an adjournment motion pressing for his resignation in light of the the Supreme Court's dismissal of the government plea to withdraw the criminal case against the LDF MLAs, including the minister.
Moving the notice, Congress legislator P T Thomas said the incident had brought disgrace to the state Assembly.
Referring to the involvement of Sivankutty, Thomas asked how a minister, who had destroyed public property, could give protection to the life and property of people.
However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the demand for the resignation. He also justified the government action approaching the apex court seeking withdrawal of the case. The plea was an appeal against High Court judgment to the same effect which was delivered on the appeal against the trial court verdict that had ordered the prosecution case to continue.
Protesting against the Chief Minister's reply, the opposition walked out of the House and announced a boycott of Thursday's House proceedings.
The Supreme Court decision on the ruckus in the Kerala Assembly has been used as a shot in the arm of the Opposition against the two-month- old second Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in the State.
The court on Wednesday dismissed the appeals, including the one filed by the Kerala government against the High Court order dismissing its plea seeking withdrawal of a criminal case lodged against LDF MLAs in connection with the ruckus.
The court said allowing the prosecution to be withdrawn would amount to interference in normal course of justice for illegitimate reasons.
(With PTI inputs)