Thu, 28 Sep 2023

Kochi (Kerala) [India], December 8 (ANI): Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking to declare that former Minister and present CPIM MLA Saji Cherian is not entitled to hold the office of the post of MLA after his alleged remarks on the Constitution of India.

Cherian courted controversy while addressing a CPIM programme at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta district and had said in his remark that India's Constitution can be used to "loot" the people of the country.

"Indian constitution can exploit people. British prepared it, Indians wrote it and implemented it. It's been 75 years. India wrote a beautiful constitution that can be used to loot. In that constitution, there are few places that have references to secularism, democracy but it can be exploited," he said.

"We all say that we have a beautifully written Constitution. But, I will say, the Constitution is written in such a way that it can be used to loot the people of the country," said Cherian, while addressing a CPI-M programme at Mallapally in Pathanamthitta district in July this year.

The petition was moved by Malappuram native Biju P Cheruman in July this year. The petitioner had contended that Saji Cherian publicly insulted the Constitution in a public speech at his political meeting and his conduct is violative of Articles 173(a) and 188 of the Constitution of India.

After considering the petition, the Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly directed the petitioner to produce relevant provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act or election laws or any orders issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in this regard.

While considering the matter, Court observed that, "Article 173 of the Indian Constitution deals with qualification for membership of State Legislature and in the case on hand, being qualified, Saji Cherian, had already been elected as a member of the State Legislature, prima facie, we are of the view that the said Constitutional provision may not be applicable."The Court further said material on record disclosed that on the allegations that Saji Cherian, the fourth respondent, has made statements against the Constitutional provisions, it appears that a crime has been registered under the provision of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. "Going through the material on record, we do not find any reference to the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as regards disqualification of a Member of a Legislative Assembly," said the Court. (ANI)

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