- In the case of alleged vandalism in Kerala Assembly in 2015, SC said that legislators get privileges to be able to work fearlessly, not as a mark of status that puts them on a pedestal
New Delhi: Privileges and immunity are not a gateway to claim exemption from criminal law, the Supreme Court bench observed while rejecting the Kerala government’s plea seeking withdrawal of cases against CPI(M) leaders.
The cases pertain to alleged vandalism by these leaders in the Kerala Assembly House in 2015 when the party, which is now in power, was in the Opposition.
The two-judge bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah, had on July 15 reserved the verdict.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court had earlier dismissed the petition seeking withdrawal of prosecution against the accused, including sitting ministers. The state government challenged this verdict in the Kerala High Court which rejected the petition on March 12, 2021.
This order was challenged via a petition in the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, while upholding Kerala High Court’s judgment approving the CJM’s order, the SC bench dismissed the special leave petitions filed by Kerala state and the accused.
Six members of the CPI(M) are accused in the Kerala Assembly ruckus.
While giving the verdict, the SC observed that the purpose of bestowing privileges on legislators “is to enable them to perform their legislative functions without hindrance or without fear or favour. They are not a mark of status which keep legislators on an unequal pedestal.”
The court further observed that legislators should act within the parameters of the public trust imposed on them to do their duty.
To claim an exemption from application from criminal law for legislators would be to betray the trust reposed on them by the public.
To read the latest news in Gujarati click here