Kerala

SC verdict puts govt. in a spot

A view of Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Supreme Court judgment denying reprieve without trial for Left Democratic Front (LDF) leaders accused of creating disorder and destroying public property in the Assembly in 2015 appeared to have plunged the government and the ruling coalition into an awkward situation.

The apex court’s damning order is being perceived widely as a setback for the LDF and a moral win for the United Democratic Front (UDF).

(Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had doggedly opposed the government’s move to set aside the case against the LDF leaders at multiple levels of the judiciary). The UDF has weaponised the SC order against the LDF government.

Leader of tthe Opposition V.D. Satheesan has sought the resignation of General Education Minister V. Sivankutty. The issue is likely to figure in the House prominently.

Protests today

KPCC president K. Sudhakaran has announced sit-in demonstrations at district headquarters across the State on Thursday to press for the Minister’s resignation.

Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran has demanded a public apology from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He asked Mr. Vijayan to reimburse the substantial legal fee drawn from the public exchequer to defend the LDF leaders in vain and against sound advice.

Kerala Congress (M) leader, Jose. K. Mani, an LDF ally and K.M.Mani’s political heir, was guarded in his response. The government would follow the law, he said.

Mr. Sivankutty said he saw no reason to resign and would face trial. ‘

Divided

The verdict has also reportedly set off a blame game in the LDF. Some LDF partners had warned the government against the move to withdraw the case against the advice of the Deputy Director, Prosecutions.

They reportedly felt the government had magnified the issue and unnecessarily drawn national attention to the episode by fighting the case at the Supreme Court level.

By one account, CPI(M) was unlikely to budge from its earlier stance that the further prosecution of the LDF leaders would be tantamount to double jeopardy. The Speaker had punished the legislators by expelling them from the House temporarily. Moreover, the protest was a political act to highlight corruption. The accused had no criminal intent.

The LDF, which was in the Opposition, had accused K. M. Mani of criminal culpability in the sensational bar bribery case that rocked the Oommen Chandy government in 2015. It decided politically to prevent Mr. Mani, the sole accused in the graft case, from presenting the Budget.


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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 3:34:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/sc-verdict-puts-govt-in-a-spot/article35590648.ece

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