Denied permission to discuss murder convicts' sentence remission issue on facts: Kerala Speaker

Kerala Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer
Kerala Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala assembly Speaker A N Shamseer on Thursday said he denied permission for the UDF opposition's motion to discuss the state government's alleged move to grant sentence remission to three convicts in the T P Chandrasekharan murder case based on the facts and documents before him.

The Speaker was responding to a letter received by him on Wednesday from the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan protesting against Shamseer denying permission to adjourn the House and discuss the issue raised by the UDF.

Shamseer, on Tuesday, denied permission to the UDF motion claiming that it was clear that the government has made no attempt to grant remission to any of the convicts in the case.

Subsequently, Satheesan had accused the Speaker of being "scared" to discuss the issue after the chair prevented him from completing his speech following the denial of permission to the motion.

The opposition leader had also criticised the Speaker's decision as "inappropriate," saying it was not his duty to speak on behalf of the state government.

Shamseer, on Thursday, in his response to Satheesan's letter, said that there was no document available regarding the move to grant remission in sentence to only the three accused.

He said that the names of the three were included along with that of several other prisoners for commutation of sentence as part of the 75th anniversary of India's independence and when the controversy erupted the government had clarified that a final decision will be made only after carrying out detailed checks.

"Taking into consideration the above circumstances, and in the context of the finding that such a situation did not exist at that time, the matter raised in the notice was rejected, in accordance with the assembly rules, as it could have been a hearsay or an allegation," the Speaker said, in a statement issued by his office.

"Let it be clarified that the Speaker's decision was based on the clear facts and documents before him to take a decision without any kind of explanation from the government," it added.

Shamseer contended that his decision was not influenced by any other interests except to conduct the House proceedings in the most elegant manner in accordance with the rules and practices and the good examples adopted by his predecessors.

He further said that the issue was permitted to be raised as a submission on Thursday.

The Speaker said that if there was a disagreement, protest or difference of opinion regarding his decision or a ruling by the House, it could have been raised or recorded by the concerned party leaders in his chamber as was the accepted parliamentary practice.

However, on Tuesday, when permission was denied, the opposition deviated from such accepted practices and questioned the Speaker's decision in the House itself and also raised objectionable slogans against him, the statement said.

"It is brought to your notice that it is an extremely regrettable act to abuse the fair rights of the Chair, disrupt the assembly and hold a press conference to repeat the allegations.

"I would also like to inform you (Satheesan) that I am deeply hurt by the fact that you, who constantly strive to uphold high parliamentary values, make statements and give study classes and inspiration to new members to set good examples, acted in this manner," Shamseer said in his response to the opposition leader's letter.

Murder convicts' remission controversy created by some officials for UDF benefit: Kerala govt

Thiruvananthapuram | As the Congress-led UDF accused the Left administration in the state of trying to commute the sentence of three convicts in the T P Chandrasekharan murder case, the Kerala government alleged it was a controversy created by some officials for the benefit of the opposition.

State Minister for Local Self-Governments and Excise M B Rajesh said the government was going to examine whether some officials were working to further the politcal interests of the opposition.

The minister said that forwarding names of prisoners, who were ineligible for remission, to be considered for commutation of sentence was not a honest mistake and therefore, action has been taken against the officials involved.

The government on Thursday ordered suspension of the jail officials who allegedly included three convicts from the high-profile T P Chandrasekharan murder case in a remission list.

Rajesh also said that ever since the controversy erupted over the purported move by the government to grant remission in sentence to three convicts in the murder case, the Left administration has been clarifying that there was no such attempt made by it.

The government's stand is clear from the letter of the Additional Chief Secretary, Home, and the press release of the Head of Prisons, he said.

The Additional Chief Secretary, Home, had on June 3 directed the Head of Prisons to submit a revised list by strictly following the norms after finding names of prisoners ineligible for remission in the list of convicts to be considered for commutation of sentence.

The Head of Prisons had issued a press release on June 22 stating that the final list of those eligible for remission will be provided to the government after removing the names of those convicted for killing Chandrasekharan.

"So, when the opposition submits in the House that a constable called (K K Rema) to seek her opinion, their intention is clear from that. The opposition's aim was political. The government is being blamed for something it did not even think of," Rajesh contended, while speaking to reporters in the assembly complex here.

The minister further claimed that only the opposition would benefit from such a controversy.

It was an opportunity created by some officials for the benefit of the opposition and action has been taken against them.

The minister also said that the decision to commute the sentence of a convict is taken by the state cabinet which has in the past rejected recommendations by district and state-level committees headed by retired judges.

"The government has burst the soap bubble created by the opposition with the help of some media groups," he contended.

Rajesh claimed that despite the government's clarifications that it had made no such attempt, neither the opposition nor some members of the media were willing to accept it.

Chandrasekharan (52), leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party, was hacked to death by a gang while he was returning home on his bike in 2012.

Earlier in the day, in the assembly, the opposition accused the state government of still attempting to grant remission to the three convicts in the case and demanded its assurance that the sentence of the prisoners in question will not be commuted for any reason whatsoever.

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