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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Opposition ups ante against Kerala minister V Sivankutty, demands his ouster

The Opposition furore comes after the Supreme Court asked V Sivankutty and five others to face trial in the 2015 Kerala Assembly ruckus case.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi |
Updated: July 28, 2021 4:26:18 pm
KeralaChaos in the Kerala Assembly in 2015 as finance minister K M Mani presents the budget (File photo)

The Opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP stepped up the demand for the resignation of Kerala’s general education minister V Sivankutty, one of the six persons ordered to face a trial by the Supreme Court in the 2015 Kerala Assembly ruckus case.

“The UDF asks general education minister V Sivankutty to step down. A man who led from the front to damage Assembly property functioning as a minister in the same Assembly does not bode well for this House. Legally and morally, it does not stand. If he does not resign, the chief minister must ask for his resignation,” said Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan.

“In keeping with the democratic spirit, V Sivankutty must resign. The chief minister, who allowed the misuse of government funds, is also a culprit. He must think about his morals. He must remember that it’s the state’s funds and money that was misused,” said K Sudhakaran, president of the state Congress unit.

BJP state chief K Surendran added, “This is a heavy blow to the state government. The attempts of the Pinarayi Vijayan government to shield the accused in the criminal case by spending money from the treasury have failed miserably. The accused include a minister and MLAs. As the main accused in the case, V Sivankutty has lost the moral and legal right to continue in the cabinet.”

The SC bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah Wednesday dismissed appeals filed by the Kerala government for the withdrawal of criminal cases against then LDF MLAs in connection with the ruckus inside the Assembly in March 2015 during the budget presentation of the then UDF government.

The top court ruled that the right to free speech and privileges of lawmakers do not extend them immunity against criminal law. It said that destruction of public property cannot be equated to an exercise essential to discharge of functions as members of the House.

On March 13, 2015, several LDF MLAs, then in Opposition, had gone on a rampage inside the Kerala Assembly trying to disrupt the presentation of the budget by then finance minister late K M Mani, who was facing allegations of corruption at the time. Visuals showed the MLAs, including CPM’s Sivankutty, E P Jayarajan, K T Jaleel, K Kunjahammed, C K Sadasivan and CPI’s K Ajith, tearing microphones, hurling and tossing the Speaker’s chair from the dais and destroying electronic equipment such as computers and keyboards. The top court has now asked the six of them to face trial in the case.

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