Updated: July 6, 2021 1:57:22 am
The Supreme Court on Monday came down hard on the unruly conduct by MLAs of the then opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the Kerala Assembly during the presentation of the 2015 budget, saying that “this sort of behaviour is unacceptable”.
The incident in question had occurred on March 13, 2015, when the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) was in power. Members of the opposition had been protesting then finance minister K M Mani’s alleged involvement in a scandal related to alleged corruption in granting of bar licences.
In the ensuing fracas, nine people were injured, the Speaker’s chamber was vandalised and electronic equipment destroyed in the chaos. However, Mani managed to table the budget guarded by the Assembly security staff and legislators of the UDF.
On Monday, Justice D Y Chandrachud, heading a two-judge bench, told Senior Advocate Renjith Kumar who appeared for the state, “Prima facie, we have to take a strict view. This sort of behaviour is unacceptable. Look at the behaviour of the MLA who throws a mic on the floor of the house. We will not condone this sort of behaviour…You have to face trial under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.”
The bench, also comprising Justice M R Shah, was hearing the state’s Special Leave Petition against the March 12, 2021 judgement by the Kerala High Court dismissing its plea. The state’s plea was against the order of a Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Thiruvananthapuram refusing to allow it to withdraw the prosecution in this connection under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Section 321 says that the public prosecutor or assistant public prosecutor in charge of a case may, with the consent of the court, at any time before the judgment is pronounced, withdraw from the prosecution of any person either generally or in respect of any one or more of the offences for which he is tried.
The court adjourned the hearing to July 15 and asked Kumar to place on record the judgements he was relying on to establish the claim of privilege of the legislature.
Earlier, the Kerala HC had rejected the argument that the accused were protected by legislative privileges.
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