Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 30 September 2023 2.20 AM IST

Saji Cheriyan to return to cabinet, swearing-in on Jan 4; opposition raises objection, Governor seeks legal advice


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Saji Cheriyan who resigned his ministerial position six months ago over anti-constitution remarks might take oath as minister on January 4. It is indicated that he will be given the portfolios of Fisheries, Culture and Youth Affairs that he handled earlier.

Meanwhile, the objection of the opposition against reinstating him as minister before the declaration of verdict by Thiruvalla court and the governor’s decision to seek legal advice has made Cheriyan’s comeback controversial. The final decision will be taken after the governor returns on Monday. The opposition will observe a black day on the day of Saji Cheriyan’s swearing-in.

Following positive indications in the case, the CPM state secretariat, which had given permission to reinstate Cheriyan last week, had tasked the chief minister with taking further steps. The Chief Minister sent a letter to the Raj Bhavan on Friday evening seeking convenience for the oath taking. The government’s move is to conduct the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan auditorium at 4 pm.

The governor is seeking legal advice as to whether the case in the Thiruvalla court and the High Court's notice to the government on another plea seeking a CBI investigation, is a hindrance to the oath-taking. At the same time, the governor cannot refuse permission to administer the oath on the recommendation of the Chief Minister who is the head of the cabinet.

The High court had rejected plea to disqualify him from MLA post and the Thiruvalla police had submitted a report to the court that there was no evidence that he had made anti constitution remarks. These two incidents had paved way for Saji Cheriyan’s return to cabinet.

In a seminar organized by the CPM Mallapally area committee on July 3, Cheriyan made a controversial remark that India's Constitution enabled exploitation and looting of the people. As it became controversial, he resigned on July 6. The report submitted by the police said that neither the Constitution nor the makers were insulted.

The statements of the Thiruvalla and Ranni MLAs who were on the stage during the speech also similar to this. Cheriyan had said that some parts of his speech had been edited out and interpreted even when he announced the decision to resign and also in the assembly.

Reason for legal advice

  1. The Governor sought legal advice from Standing Consul S Gopakumaran Nair on whether the oath taking is against law.
  2. Speech insulting the Constitution comes under the Special Act 1971 regarding insulting national dignity.
  3. Disrespecting the constitution by writing, speech or deed, one can get three years imprisonment and fine.

Governor cannot stop this

  • According to Article 164 of the Constitution, the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and other ministers should be appointed by him on the advice of the Chief Minister.
  • Being accused in the case is not a bar to become a minister. Under the Representation of the People Act, you will be disqualified only if you have been sentenced for two years or more.

In court

A notice will be sent to the complainant who is a lawyer in Kochi based on the police report. A motion may be made to reject the report and to admit his evidence. Considering this, the court may directly take the evidence or record the statement. If there is any basis in the evidence, the police report can be rejected and further investigation can be ordered. Or the case can be closed by accepting the police report.

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