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Anti-Constitution Remarks: Kerala HC dismisses plea to disqualify ex-minister

Saji Cherian, a former minister in Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet, had courted controversy when he made several remarks against the Constitution at a party meeting in Pathanamthitta in July this year.

Statesman News Service | Kochi |

The Kerala High Court, on Thursday, dismissed a petition seeking disqualification of former minister Saji Cherian, an MLA belonging to the CPI-M from the Assembly over his remarks allegedly disrespecting the Constitution of India.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly dismissed the petition observing that it is not for the court to go into the contentions, decipher the truth of it, and grant the reliefs sought by the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, when there is a clear procedure prescribed in the law.

“Whether the first respondent has violated the oath of office, on the basis of the subject matter, is a matter which could be identified or deciphered only by a fact finding body, taking into account the attendant circumstances. So also, Article 173 of the constitution of India deals with the qualifications of a person to become a member of a Legislative Assembly, which has nothing to do with the case projected by the petitioners..Therefore, we are of the view that, if at all the allegations have any intrinsic relationship with the disqualifications deliberated above, there is a straightforward remedy specified under the Constitution of India.” the court said.

Petitioner Biju V Cheruman had sought an order from the court declaring Saji Cherian, a former minister, not entitled to hold the office of the legislator in view of his controversial speech.

The petitioner contended that by publicly insulting the Constitution, Cherian violated Articles 173(a) and 188 of the Constitution of India which set out the qualifications and oath sworn by MLAs.

During the hearing of the case, Advocate General K Gopalakrishna Kurup, submitted that as per Articles 191 and 192 of the Constitution, there are certain parameters and procedures to be followed to disqualify a member of the State Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council and that the reliefs sought for in the instant writ petition cannot be granted under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

Saji Cherian, a former minister in Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet, had courted controversy when he made several remarks against the Constitution at a party meeting in Pathanamthitta in July this year. The speech sparked huge controversy and had triggered widespread outrage. Following this, he resigned from the cabinet.

“The Constitution was fine-tuned adding democracy and secularism here and there to make it beautiful. But its exploitative part is quite evident. We proudly followed it in 75 years. It condones labour exploitation. That is why Ambani, Adani and their ilk grow here,” he is reportedly said in the speech.