New Delhi Jul 28(ILNS): The Supreme Court today dismissed the petition filed by Kerala Government seeking direction to withdraw cases against six CPI(M) leaders, including Kerala Education Minister V. Sivankutty for vandalism inside the state Assembly in 2015, when the current regime was not in power.
A Division Bench comprising of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah noted that the Privileges provided to members are not a gateway to escape from criminal law in this case.
Earlier, the Kerala High Court, while dismissing the state government plea, had said, “Here the allegation is of the functioning of Assembly Session having been disrupted by the members by trespassing into the Speaker’s dais and committing mischief. The aforementioned acts, if proven to be true, can by no stretch of the imagination, be deemed to be acts done in furtherance of free functioning of the House.”
Six members of CPI(M) were booked under relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act for vandalism in the House. Out of the accused, V Sivankutty is the current Education Minister in the present second term of the LDF government.
The other accused include EP Jayarajan and KT Jaleel, who were Ministers in the previous LDF government, besides CK Sahadevan, K Ajith, and K Kunhammed.
Justice Chandrachud, while pronouncing the verdict said, “Chief Judicial Magistrate Thiruvananthapuram was justified in rejecting the application. Acts of vandalism do not serve a public function or come under freedom of speech.”
The Court, while referring to a judgment, further observed that the act of members crossed the Constitutional lines and thus, was not covered under the immunity and privileges.
The bench, while dismissing the application, noted that the public prosecutor seems to be impressed by the privilege and has the misconception that the elected members stand above the law./ILNS/SS/SV/SNG