New Delhi: Kerala’s CPM leaders – Education and Labour Minister V Sivankutty and former Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel, among other MLAs, are set to face trial in a case of damaging property during protests in the state Assembly in 2015. The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the Kerala government’s appeal against the high court order dismissing its plea seeking withdrawal of a criminal case lodged against LDF MLAs in connection with the ruckus in 2015.Also Read - COVID-Related Deaths or Not? After Supreme Court's '3rd Wave' Rebuke, Centre Issues Guidelines | Key Takeaways
A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah came down heavily on the leaders for misusing the right to free speech and privileges of lawmakers and said that “privilege and immunity of legislators is not a gate to claim exemption from criminal law”. Also Read - CBSE Private, Patrachar, Compartment Students Must Get Admission Provisionally, AICTE Urges Higher Educational Institutes
It said that destruction of public property cannot be equated to an exercise essential to discharge of functions as members of the House. Also Read - In Historic Move, Armed Forces Allow Induction of Women in NDA, Supreme Court Informed
The state assembly had witnessed unprecedented scenes on March 13, 2015, as LDF members, then in opposition, tried to prevent then finance minister K M Mani, who was facing allegations in the bar bribery scam, from presenting the state budget.
Besides flinging the speaker’s chair from the podium, electronic equipment like computers, keyboards and mikes on the desk of the presiding officer was also allegedly damaged by the then LDF members.
In its plea filed in the apex court against the March 12 order of the high court, the Kerala government had claimed that the high court had failed to appreciate that the alleged incident had occurred while the Assembly was in session and no crime could have been registered “without previous sanction” of the Speaker.
With Agency inputs