Court cites vandalism, ignores excuse of “protest” by Sivankutty and others
Thiruvananthapuram: Dismissing the discharge requests of General Education Minister V Sivankutty and other LDF leaders in the Kerala Legislative Assembly Uproar case in 2015, a trial court here dismissed the arguments of the defendants that the incident was a protest and the media visuals were tampered with.
Counsel representing the defendants – Sivankutty, KT Jaleel, EP Jayarajan, K Ajith, K Kunhammad and CK Sadasivan – had asserted that they had not broken the law. They had argued that their only objective was to prevent then-finance minister KM Mani from presenting his budget and that the reported property damage was the result of shoving inside the House.
The accused also claimed that the media had exaggerated the incident.
Judge R Rekha of the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court (CJM) dismissed the arguments citing the provisions of the Public Property Damage Prevention Act under which the case was charged, saying the accused should be judge. Against the defense argument that the incident inside the State Assembly was a protest against the presentation of the budget, the Deputy Prosecutor, Director Balachandra Menon, on behalf of the State, has argues that an MP did not have the right to destroy furniture and equipment purchased with taxpayers. money.
Submitting that the intention of the LDF leaders was to protest and prevent the then finance minister from presenting the state budget, the defense attorney pointed out that the indictment mentioned that the President’s chair, computer and microphone were damaged during the melee on the House’s floor on March 13, 2015.
The accused also argued that VS Sunil Kumar, B Sathyan, TM Thomas Isaac and around 20 other MPs were also on the president’s dais. The defense also said the media had exaggerated the incident. It was also argued that the charge sheet made no mention of the electronics engineer who subjected the allegedly damaged electronics panel to a chemical test.
Investigators, according to the defense, recorded witness statements after showing them the visuals recorded on a CD.
In response, the state attorney said the defense argument did not hold up since the Chamber’s hard drive had a timer and could not be manipulated.
The discharge requests were made by Sivankutty, former ministers EP Jayarajan and KT Jaleel, and former MPs K Ajith, K Kunhammed and CK Sadasivan.
The CJM court rejected in September 2020 the government’s request to withdraw the case and ordered the accused to stand trial. The High Court and Supreme Court subsequently upheld the order of the lower court.
CPM to research legal options
Thiruvananthapuram: While Minister Sivankuttty did not comment on the court order, Acting Secretary of State of the PMO, A Vijayaraghavan, said the party would seek legal options. The position of the PMO was to let Sivankutty stand trial while continuing to be a minister.
Probable punishment if found guilty
The accused, if found guilty, could even face up to five years in jail, barring a fine.
The crimes and punishments considered, depending on the case, are:
• IPC 447 (Punishment for criminal intrusion): three months imprisonment and a sentence of Rs 500
• IPC 427 (mischief causing damage in the amount of Rs 50 or more): imprisonment of up to two years and fine
• Law on the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP): imprisonment for five years and a fine.