Discharge petition: Personal appearance of Minister not needed

The LDF government has been spared of a politically embarrassing situation as the State Minister V. Sivankutty, an accused in the Assembly ruckus case, need not personally appear before the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) which considers his discharge petition.

He shall be represented by his lawyer at the court.

However, all the accused will have to be personally present in the court hall in the event of the court framing the charge against them after rejecting their discharge petitions.

The CJM Court, Thiruvananthapuram, is expected to take up the case during the second week of August.

Mr. Sivankutty and the five other accused including K.T. Jaleel, MLA, had earlier secured the bail in the criminal case booked in connection with the untoward incidents that took place on the floor of the Assembly on March 13, 2015. It was at the third opportunity offered by the CJM in the trespass and destruction of public property case that the accused secured their bail.

The bail in the criminal case was a prerequisite for the accused to move their discharge petitions. The accused had also deposited around ₹ 36,000 each, the one-sixth share of the total 2.20 lakh-loss the State suffered as the legislators destroyed the chair, computer, mike and an emergency lamp in the dais of the Speaker, legal sources pointed out.

The Congress-led UDF had intensified their demand for the scalp of the Minister after the Supreme Court turning down the State government’s appeal against the CJM’s order in the Assembly ruckus case. The trial court had rejected the State government’s plea for the withdrawal of prosecution in the case. However, the CPI (M) and the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have thrown their weight behind the Minister and categorically declined the Opposition demand for his resignation.

Smelling blood, the UDF has decided to take out its protest to the streets in the coming days besides the agitations on the floor of the house. The UDF has also announced protest meetings at all the Assembly constituencies on August 4. Congress had organised standing protests across the State on July 30.

While considering the discharge petition, the trial court would go through the oral and material evidences, CCTV footages of the unruly incidents that unfolded on the floor of the Assembly to find out whether there are sufficient evidences to frame charge against the accused.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 2:19:10 PM |

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