Criminal cases against him for controversial speech in Idukki
The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied relief to former Communist Party of India (Marxist) Idukki district secretary M.M. Mani by dismissing his plea to quash the FIRs filed against him for his May 25 controversial speech saying that the party had systematically eliminated four of its political foes.
Noting that they are consciously refraining from making any comment on the case lest it may affect the investigation, a Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J.S. Khehar dismissed Mr. Mani’s petition.
Mr. Mani had approached the Supreme Court seeking to appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution against the judgment and final order passed by the Kerala High Court on June 26, 2012.
In his petition, Mr. Mani contended that no “cognisable offence” was made out from his speech and the criminal action against him was politically motivated.
“We, however, argued in the court today that his (Mr. Mani) speech reflected a clear threat and required detailed investigation,” advocate Ramesh Babu, who represented State of Kerala, said.
In his petition, Mr. Mani said the public speech was made at a political meeting called for explaining the policy of his party and on other current political issues.
“He (Mr. Mani) made general references about the illegal cases foisted against him, his party workers, the harassment from goons and the police suffered by plantation workers, and the murder cases in the district (Idukki) which took place three decades ago,” his petition, filed by advocate P.V. Dinesh, stated.
Mr. Mani, through his petition, explained that being a plantation worker himself, he was merely “communicating with his fellow party men in his inimitable colloquial slang so as to embolden them against the oppression by those who are against the interest of the workers”.
He said he had later clarified that it was a “mistake on his part to speak wrongly and he repented for making such speech, while not admitting any criminality”. But despite this, the media had taken it out of context and started portraying him as a “murderer”.
He had alleged that the speech, which would have been otherwise ignored like any other political rhetoric or charged speech, was used by the ruling political front, which has a “wafer thin majority in the Assembly”, to take advantage of in the upcoming by-election to the Assembly on July 2, 2012, and tarnish the image of the party.
By filing criminal cases against him, Mr. Mani alleged that the police were acting under dictation.
“The approach of the police, affecting the guaranteed right to life and liberty of the petitioner under Article 21 of the Constitution was so causal and callous. The registration of FIR under Section 302 IPC and the constitution of a Special Investigation Team ( SIT) in haste were even without a bare minimum preliminary enquiry, which is a facet of Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution,” his petition said.