HC dismisses petition demanding CBI probe into Arya Rajendran's letter row

Arya Rajendran, Kerala High Court

Kochi: The Kerala High Court rejected the petition seeking CBI probe into the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation letter controversy involving mayor Arya Rajendran. The peitition which accused the mayor of nepotism and breaching oath, was filed by the former corporation councillor GS Sreekumar.

Justice K Babu said the claims of the petitioner regarding the impartiality of the investigating agency -- the Crime Branch wing of the police -- are without any solid foundation.

"The averments regarding the impartiality of the investigating agency in the writ petition are without any solid foundation. The petitioner has failed to place any concrete material compelling transfer of investigation," the court said and dismissed the plea.

The court said the petitioner had alternate remedies to redress his grievances.

In the plea filed through advocate K R Rajkumar, Sreekumar had also sought appointment of a commission, headed by a sitting judge not below the rank of a subordinate judge, to look into the allegations made by him against the Mayor in his plea.

The court rejected that plea as well by saying that according to the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1952, it was "crystal clear" that there was no legal or statutory obligation upon the State government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry even if it was a matter of public importance.

"As the statute imposed no legal duty on the government to appoint a commission, the petitioner has no legal right to enforce its performance. As the petitioner has no right under the statute he has no locus standi to seek the relief as prayed for. The writ petition fails and it stands dismissed," the court said.

Later in the day, BJP councillors protested in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation by lying down on the Mayor's dais in the council hall and shouting slogans at Rajendran seeking her resignation.

Rajendran told reporters that the day's protest in the council hall was to cover up the embarrassment they suffered in view of the High Court decision.

"If we are opting for the legal recourse, then we should be ready to accept the court decisions also," she said.

The leak of the letter resulted in protests continuing for over a month now inside and outside the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation office by the BJP and Congress, including their youth and women wings, seeking Rajendran's resignation.

Sreekumar had contended in his plea that Rajendran and LDF Parliamentary Party secretary D R Anil requested the CPI(M) District Secretary to provide the list of party members for appointment to various posts in the Health division of the Corporation.

"The above act of nepotism of the Mayor of the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation and one of the councillors is very much against the oath taken by both of them at the time of swearing-in as councillors in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation," the petition had alleged.

The petitioner had contended the actions of Rajendran and Anil can be seen as "subverting the employment chances of thousands" who are qualified to do the jobs if the same are advertised.

He had also alleged Rajendran and Anil were creating a cadre for their party in the Corporation "by systematically employing persons who are affiliated with the CPI(M) only."

Both had denied these allegations before the High Court.

The alleged letter, written to the CPI(M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan, had sought the priority list of party cadres to be appointed in temporary vacancies in the Left-ruled civic body.

The young Mayor has right from the beginning denied that she wrote, signed or sent any such letter and claimed that it appeared to be "edited."

She has also said she suspects it to be politically motivated and also brushed aside demands for her resignation by the opposition Congress and BJP, by terming the same as a "joke".

(With PTI inputs)

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