Party action pre-empts court judgments, say legal circles

Though the disclosure of the finding of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)]’s much-awaited party-level inquiry into the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T.P. Chandrasekharan may have sparked debates over its perceived political significance at a time when the parties are gearing up for the general elections, its legal implications have gone largely unnoticed.

Appeal pending

According to legal circles, the disclosure of the CPI(M)’s inquiry report might come under the purview of the clauses in the Contempt of Court Act when an appeal against the verdict of the trial court is still pending in the High Court. Eleven of the 12 convicts have been awarded life sentence in the murder case by the Additional District and Sessions Court (Marad Cases) in Kozhikode. They include CPI(M) Panur area committee member P.K. Kunhanandan, party’s Kunnummakkara local committee member K.C. Ramachandran, and the former branch secretary of Kadanganpoil Trouser Manoj. According to the party’s inquiry report, Ramachandran alone was responsible for the murder.

According to the report, it was the outcome of his personal enmity towards Chandrasekharan.

Following the finding, Ramachandran has been expelled from the party. He was also informed of the party’s action by CPI(M) leaders who visited him at the Central Jail here the other day.

Others exonerated

When the appeal against the sentences are pending in the High Court, the CPI(M)’s inquiry report indicting Ramachandran and thus virtually exonerating the other convicted local leaders of the party can be seen as an interference in the administration of justice, an action that attracts charges of criminal contempt of court.

While the appeal claims that Ramachandran and others are not guilty, the party’s inquiry report says that Ramachandran is guilty.

This anomaly, according to the legal circles, could have been averted if the CPI(M) had waited till the higher court disposed of the appeal petition.

The inquiry report amounts to passing of an order on a matter that is sub judice, they say, adding that criminal contempt proceedings are applicable to actions pre-empting court judgments.

The report has already raised questions about the modality of the inquiry conducted by the CPI(M) into the murder case and methods followed for arriving at its conclusion that only Ramachandran’s personal enmity towards Chandrasekharan was what led to the murder of the latter.

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