(Eds: Updates with details) Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 22 (PTI) In a major setback to the LDF government in Kerala, a court here on Tuesday rejected its plea for withdrawing a case related to ruckus in the state assembly in 2015 in which two of its ministers and four others, then in opposition, are the accused, saying allowing it would send a wrong message to society.
Chief Judicial MagistrateR Jayakrishnan dismissed the petition of the prosecution seeking withdrawal of the case, holding that he was inclined to presumethat the application has been filed without good faith and on external influence.
The opposition Congress and the BJP state unit attacked the government and said that the court's order was a major blow to it.
The CMM said the prosecutor has every discretion to file a petition for withdrawing prosecution with the consent of the court,but added that he 'should apply his mind as a free agent uninfluenced by irrelevant and extraneous consideration'.
'Here the accused are members of the legislature and the alleged incident happened in the House during session. So the allegation is very serious. Moreoverit is contented that the incident in this case has been telecasted by the visual mediaand print mediahave published the incident,' he said in his order.
The petition was filed by the government seeking withdrawal of the case registered under sections 447 (criminal trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage), read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sec 3(1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act by the previous Oommen Chandy-led UDF government.
The accused in the case are senior cabinet Minister E P Jayarajan, Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel, Left Democratic Front (LDF) leaders K Ajith, V Sivankutty, C K Sadasivan and K Kunhammed, all opposition MLAs then.
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.
The LDF government had in 2018 approached the court for withdrawal of the case against its ministers and leaders.
The court, in its order, said privileges were given to members of the state legislature to perform their duty effectively and fearlessly representing their constituencies.
'If permission is granted to withdraw from the prosecution, it is a wrong message given to the society. I am inclined to presumethat the application is filled without good faith and on external influence. So I decline to give consent to withdraw from the prosecution against the accused.
In the result the petition is dismissed,' the court said.
The prosecutionhad claimed that the assembly is entitledwith the right to punish those actions which are offences against the authority or dignity such as disobedienceto its legitimate commands.
'It is under the special jurisdictional ambiance of the Speaker of the House concerned. The police officers cannot register a case against the members of the Legislative Assembly without the permission of the Speaker of the Assembly, if the alleged offence is transpired during the session of the House or in the vicinity,' the prosecution had submittedbefore the court. PTI RRT VS VS