Opposition slams Speaker Sreeramakrishnan after PA skips Customs interrogation
Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition has raised sharp criticism against Kerala AssemblySpeaker P Sreeramakrishnan after the assembly secretary issued a letter to the Customs informing that they must seek prior permission of the speaker to quiz his assistant private secretary.
Customs had summoned Speaker’s assistant private secretary K Ayyappan for interrogation on Wednesday over the probe into dollar smuggling case. The opposition has condemned the move to interrupt the interrogation of the PA of the Speaker.
“It’s unfortunate that the protection of legislative privileges is misused by Speaker @sreeramkrishnan to bypass or avoid due process of law to protect his PA. This is mere belittling the stature & dignity of the Legislature itself. ‘Is something rotten in the State of Denmark ?,” tweeted Congress MLA KC Joseph.
It’s unfortunate that the protection of legislative privileges is misused by Speaker @sreeramkrishnan to bye pass or avoid due process of law to protect his PA. This is mere belittling the stature & dignity of the Legislature itself. ‘Is something rotten in the State of Denmark ?— KC Joseph (@kcjoseph99) January 6, 2021
Meanwhile, the assembly secretary argued that he wrote the letter as per the legislative assembly rules. As per the rules, Customs should seek the permission of the Speaker before summoning his assistant private secretary for interrogation.
Meanwhile, Customs asserted that though the Speaker can claim the legislative immunity as per the constitution, his personal staff can not claim it. Customs has also received legal advice in this regard.
As per the assembly rule, the speaker should be summoned for recording statement in a case after serving notice a month before the commencement of an assembly session or after a month of the session.
In the letter, the assembly secretary pointed out that this rule is also applicable to the staff of the speaker.
The legal experts opined that the issue over the matter should be resolved in a court as such a legal issue is raised for the first time in the state. Hence, the interrogation of the speaker and his staff by Customs is likely to be delayed.