Discharge plea of Sivankutty, others rejected

By Special Correspondent

General Education Minister V. Sivankutty and five Left Democratic Front (LDF) leaders have to stand trial in the Assembly ruckus case as their discharge petitions were rejected by a trial court on Wednesday.

Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thiruvananthapuram, R. Rekha rejected the plea as the court felt that it cannot consider the charge against the accused to be groundless, while considering the police report, the documents sent with it and hearing the prosecution and the accused.

The court, after examining all the materials arrived at the conclusion that there was sufficient ground for presuming that the accused committed the offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

All the accused in the case, including K.T. Jaleel, MLA; K. Ajith, K. Kunjammed, E.P. Jayarajan and C.K. Sadasivan, should be present in the court on November 22 to frame the charges in the case, the court said.

The prosecution case was that the accused trespassed the dais of the Assembly Speaker and damaged his chair, electronic equipment, including computer and mike, and caused a loss to the tune of ₹2.20 lakh. The unruly incidents took place on the floor of the House on March 13, 2015, following the attempts of the LDF legislators to prevent the then Finance Minister K.M. Mani from presenting the annual budget.

The trial court rejected the arguments of the accused that the prosecution initiated on the basis of a complaint by the Legislative Secretary without the Speaker’s permission was not maintainable. The contention of the accused, who were the members of the Assembly, that they were entitled to immunity due to the privileges conferred by the Constitution, was also rejected by the court.

Quoting the Supreme court order that the privileges and immunities were not gateways to claim exemptions from the general law of the land, the trial court held that the accused cannot bank on the contention of legislative privilege to claim discharge in the case.

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