Accused in Kerala Assembly ruckus case must face trial

The Supreme Court dismissed Kerala Govt’s petition seeking a direction to withdraw cases against CPM and CPI leaders for alleged vandalism in the Kerala state Assembly in 2015. The Supreme Court said that the accused in the Kerala Assembly ruckus case have to face trial.

The Supreme Court had heard in a detailed manner the arguments and submissions from the petitioner and respondent. The Kerala government filed an appeal to withdraw the case in which LDF legislators, including education minister V Sivankutty, were named as accused in the case. KT Jaleel, EP Jayarajan, Kunhammad Master, CK Sadasivan and K Ajith are also accused of indulging in vandalism in the assembly during a budget session in 2015. Sivankutty and Jaleel are still members of the Assembly. A bench including Justice Chandrachud and MR Shah were considering the case. “These privileges bear a functional relationship to the discharge of functions of the legislators, but it is not a mark of difference that places the legislators on a pedestal,” the order says. “Privileges and immunity are not a gateway to claim exemption from criminal law and that would be a betrayal to the citizens. Senior lawyer and former Solicitor General (SG) Ranjeet Kumar, appearing for the left party, had argued before the Supreme Court that the then govt was presenting the budget. There were some protests and both party members protested and a woman member was injured. Earlier, the bench criticised the accused during the hearing.

The petition was filed before the Supreme Court against a March 12, 2021 order of the Kerala High Court. The Kerala High Court had rejected the State’s petition challenging the dismissal by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court seeking permission to withdraw prosecution against the accused persons, including certain sitting ministers.