Thiruvananthapuram: Speaker A N Shamseer on Friday expunged the remarks made by Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the Wadakkanchery Life Mission bribery scandal in the Assembly on February 28.
During a debate on an adjournment motion in the Assembly on the bribery scandal, Kuzhalnadan had quoted extensively from the remand report submitted by the Enforcement Directorate in the High Court to allege that the Chief Minister had met with Swapna Suresh at the Cliff House and was behind the plum posting offered to her at the Space Park overlooking her inadequate educational qualifications. The Chief Minister denied the charges, calling them “brazen lies”.
The Speaker’s office told Onmanorama that all that Kuzhalnadan had said quoting the remand report had been expunged from the Assembly records. The portions have been expunged citing section 307 of the Kerala Assembly Rules of Procedure.
Here is what the section, which deals with expunging of words from Assembly debates, says: “If the Speaker is of the opinion that a word or words has or have been used in a debate which is or are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified, he may in his discretion order that such word or words be expunged from the proceedings of the Assembly.”
The portion thus expunged will be marked by asterisks and an explanatory footnote – “Expunged as ordered by the Chair” – will be inserted in the proceedings.
On February 28, while Kuzhalnadan was hurling posers at the Chief Minister on the basis of the remand report, law minister P Rajeeve had said that the portions should be deleted from official records as the Wadakkanchery Life Mission bribe case was under the consideration of the courts. The Speaker then accepted the minister’s argument.
Later, Opposition Leader V D Satheesan contested this argument. He said Rajeeve’s argument that the remand report could not be cited in the House was misleading. “The rule only says that a document could not be quoted if the adjudication process has begun,” Satheesan said.”This process begins only with the filing of the chargesheet. In this Life Mission case, a chargesheet is yet to be filed,” he said.
Interestingly, the Speaker has now expunged Kuzhalnadan’s remarks under section 307 and not under section 52(7) as insisted upon by the minister and the Speaker on February 28. Section 52(7) says the motion should not deal with a matter which is under adjudication by a court of law having jurisdiction in any part of India.
In fact, the Speaker seems to have gone by what the Chief Minister said on February 28. Pinarayi quoted section 52(3) and said that Kuzhalnadan was making “arguments, wrong inferences, ironical expressions, imputations and defamatory statements” against him.
Nonetheless, Kuzhalnadan said that he would not budge an inch from what he had said. He said he had asked for a copy of his February 28 speech and would decide on his future course of action later.