The former Kerala Minister alleges that there are several errors of law, jurisdiction and facts in the February 10 judgment

In an unusual step, the former Kerala Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai, has questioned through a writ petition the judgment of the Supreme Court on February 10, sentencing him to undergo one year imprisonment in the Idamalayar dam case.

In the petition filed through his counsel E.M.S. Anam, he has also challenged the Supreme Court Rules 1966, which provided for hearing a review petition by the judges in the chamber instead of in the court.

‘Deliberate step'

Mr. Pillai said the non-production of entire evidence had prejudiced the accused and the suppression of the documents by the State was deliberate. The appeal by V.S. Achuthanandan (the present Kerala Chief Minister, who was then leader of the Opposition in the Assembly) was for political gain, as [is] evident from the public speeches and statements made by the appellant.

He alleged that there were several errors of law, jurisdiction and facts in the February 10 judgment that infringed the petitioner's fundamental right under Article 21 (right to life and liberty). There was no statement in the judgment “which does not record a finding of guilty.”

Mr. Pillai maintained that his personal liberty was deprived violating the procedure established by law.

“The petitioner has a right to know under which Act and under what provision of law he is sentenced.” These mandatory requirements were lacking in the judgment.

“The core question that had to be decided by the court was whether the Chief Minister of a State was entitled to continue an appeal preferred by him when he was the leader of the Opposition and to take a stand contrary to the stand taken by the State government, which was implicit of the fact that no appeal was filed by the State,” he said.

“Would he [Mr.Achuthanandan] be having the status of a person interested? Was his interest in the administration of criminal justice or was his interest in putting down a political opponent and thus seeking to win elections based on his prosecuting the case in the Supreme Court?”

Mr. Pillai, while seeking a declaration that his confinement in prison was illegal and not in accordance with law, sought a direction that he be produced in the court and released forthwith.

An opportunity for hearing of the review petition was also sought.

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