Chennithala moves HC over govt's plea for withdrawal of 2015 assembly ruckus case

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Kochi, Oct 30 (PTI) Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Friday moved the Kerala High Court seeking to implead himself in a state government plea against a lower court order refusing to allow withdrawal of a case against a group of LDF MLAs, then in opposition, over a ruckus in the assembly in 2015 during the UDF rule.

In an application, Chennithala, the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, contended that withdrawal of prosecution of such offences was against public interest.

He said the public prosecutor has no right in law to file a petition seeking leave of the high court for the withdrawal of prosecution merely because the fact that the two of the accused were ministers and others MLAs and former members.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate Courtin Thiruvananthapuram on September 22 had rejected the plea by the Left Democratic Front government seeking withdrawal of the case filed under various provisions of Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act by the then UDF government against six people, including two who are ministers now.

The court had said allowing the withdrawal would send a wrong message to society.

Challenging the verdict, the state government has filed an appeal in the high court.

The assembly had witnessed unprecedented scenes on March 13, 2015 as the LDF members then in opposition tried to prevent Finance Minister K M Mani, who was facing charges in the bar bribery scam, from presenting the state budget.

Besides flinging the speaker''s chair from the podium, electronic equipment like computers, keyboard and mikes on the desk of the presiding officer were also allegedly damaged by the LDF members.

Chennithala said the accused, who are responsible Members of the Legislative Assembly, had created bedlam for no reason.

'A cursory look into the application seeking leave for withdrawal filed by the public prosecutor would reveal that the public prosecutor has acted in a mechanical manner without examining into the serious nature of the allegation made in the charge sheet, which is legally impermissible.

'In such a circumstance, unless the petitioner is permitted to implead in the case and to advance arguments to assist this Honble court for an effective adjudication of the legal issue involved in the case, great prejudice will be caused', the Congress leader submitted.

He said it is trite that the commission of any offence causing mischief or damage to the public property under PDPP Act or under any other act, causing loss to the public exchequer was against public interest and peace.

'Necessarily withdrawal of prosecution of such offences is against public interest and public peace and consent for withdrawing prosecution of such offences cannot be granted mere asking', Chennithala said in the application.

The previous Ommen Chandy government filed the case under relevant sections of PDPP Act and IPC sections 447 (criminal trespass) and 427 (mischief causing damage).

The LDF government had in 2018 approached the court for withdrawal of the case against its ministers and leaders.

E P Jayarajan and K T Jaleel, allegedly part of the group of then opposition members who created ruckus in the assembly, are ministers in the present LDF government. PTI COR TGB VS VS