Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: In a first in the state, the Kerala Assembly Speaker on Wednesday forwarded the breach of privilege notice moved by the opposition Congress against Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac to the ethics committee of the House.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said he had forwarded the notice, moved by Congress MLA V D Satheeshan, along with the reply filed by the minister, for the consideration of the Privileges and Ethics Committee of the state Assembly.
Satheeshan had moved a notice, under Section 159 of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, Rules of Procedure and conduct of Business against the minister for making public the details of the draft CAG report before it was tabled in the Assembly.
"Privilege And ethics committee of the Assembly will take further decision. We have handed over the breach of privilege notice and the Minister's reply to the notice to the committee," Sreeramakrishnan told the media here.
The Speaker said there are certain important issues mentioned in the complaint of the opposition MLA and other serious matters pointed out by the Minister in his reply and both need to be addressed by the committee.
"Since the formation of the state, this is probably the first time, such an issue has come up. The minister has pointed out that this was not just a matter of breach of privilege of the Assembly but there are certain unprecedented situations with regard to the CAG report. So let the committee take a decision in a democratic manner after hearing both the sides," the Speaker said.
Isaac had appeared before the Speaker on Monday to explain his stand.
The opposition had alleged that Isaac had infringed on the rights of the House by disclosing details of the CAG's audit 2018-19 report of Kerala Infrastructure Investment Board (KIIFB) to the media before it was tabled in the Assembly.
The Speaker also said that the privilege complaint against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for its reported probe against the state-run KIIFB, is also under serious consideration.
"The notice moved by M Swaraj is also a serious one and under consideration. He has pointed out that the ED has reportedly initiated a probe probe against the state-run KIIFB over borrowing from international markets on the basis of a CAG report, which is yet to be tabled in the Assembly," the Speaker said.
The Speaker has sought a report from the Finance Ministry in the matter.
Tripunithura MLA M Swaraj has alleged that launching a probe on the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India before it was tabled in the House is a violation of the privilege of the legislators.
Isaac has alleged the ED officials were leaking select information and directing media houses on how to give headlines concerning the KIIFB and asserted that the central agency would not be allowed to undermine the authority of the state government.
Meanwhile, following the Speaker's decision, the Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala, demanded Isaac's resignation. He does not have the right to continue in the post, Chennithala told reporters. Isaac had also violated the Official Secrets Act, the senior Congress leader said.