Kerala: SC rejects Mani plea against probe
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed controversial CPM leader M M Mani’s plea for quashing the direction for further probe into his public speech about the party having systematically annihilated political opponents in Idduki district 30 years ago. A Bench comprising Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “We are not inclined to interfere with the order of the High Court at this point of time. The petitioner is at liberty to take up all the legal points including the ones he raised in the present SLP in the appropriate forum.”
On another petition filed by him challenging the registration of a second FIR in the case, the Bench issued notice to the Kerala Govt. When the Bench said that it would like to examine the legality of the second FIR, Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, who appeared for the state government, accepted the notice. Counsel for Mani told the Bench that the second FIR was impermissible as all the accused had been acquitted in the case by the sessions court during 1985-86 and the High Court had dismissed the appeal by the state govt against the acquittal.
As the state government had not challenged the order of the High Court in the Supreme Court, the acquittal had attained finality, it was submitted. Mani, who was CPM Idukki district secretary, in a public meeting at Manakkad, had allegedly stated that the Marxist party had eliminated at least three of its political foes in the 1980s. A deeply embarrassed CPM had later removed him from the post. Police had registered cases against Mani and five others on the basis of the disclosures, including one pertaining to the murder of a Congress worker who was shot dead on November 13, 1982.
The Kerala High Court had earlier dismissed Mani’s plea for quashing the direction for further investigation and registration of second FIR saying if such tendencies are not checked, it would sound the “death knell” for democracy. Dismissing the petitions, the High Court had said the speech and the revelations prima facie discloses commission of cognisable offence, which fully justifies registration of crime and said the investigation could go on.