CPM mulling over Saji Cheriyan’s return to Cabinet

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM is contemplating bringing Saji Cherian back to the State Cabinet. The move comes amid the dismissal of the case against him by the High Court.

The Secretariat may even bring up the matter for discussion on Friday.

As per the party leadership, there are no hindrances to his return.

The High Court on Thursday dismissed two pleas that wanted to disqualify former state Minister Saji Cheriyan as MLA in view of his speech allegedly insulting the Indian Constitution.

A bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly passed the order.

“Having gone through sections 8, 8A, 9, 9A, 10, and 10A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, dealing with disqualifications, we could not locate any law under the said provisions to attribute disqualification against the MLA, by invoking the powers conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution; the provisions being transparent with respect to the disqualifications,” the court said.

The bench also said that whether Cheriyan violated the oath of office, as contended by the petitioners, can be “identified or deciphered only by a fact-finding body”.

“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.

“It is not for this court to go to the contentions, decipher the truth of it, and grant the reliefs sought by the petitioners under Article 226 of the Constitution of India; much less, the relief of a writ of quo warranto,” it said.

The court said the petitioners have not made out a case for interference by it.

“Needless to say, the writ petitions fail; accordingly, they are dismissed,” the bench said.

The petitions had claimed that Cheriyan’s actions attracted disqualification under Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

Section 9 of the Act states that “a person who having held an office under the government of India or under the government of any state has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the state shall be disqualified for a period of five years from the date of such dismissal.”

The pleas had also contended that Cheriyan’s conduct was a violation of Article 173(a) of the Constitution and that a case has also been registered against him under the Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 in connection with his controversial speech.

Rejecting the contention, the bench said that Article 173 of the Constitution of India deals with the qualifications of a person to become an MLA, which has nothing to do with the case projected by the petitioners.

The speech had created a political row in the state with the proceedings of the state Assembly being suspended for a day due to protests by the opposition demanding that Cheriyan resign or be sacked which finally resulted in his resignation from his cabinet post on July 6.

(With PTI inputs)

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