Kerala assembly-CIC stand-off heads for climax

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 22 (Calcutta Tube) The 14th session of the Kerala assembly which begins Wednesday will see who wins in the ongoing stand-off between the state’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and the legislature.

The 24-day budget session begins with the address by Governor R.S. Gavai. The 2010-11 budget will be presented by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac March 5.

Trouble has been brewing between the legislature and the CIC Palatt Mohandas since D.B. Vinu approached the assembly’s information officer for a copy of the speech and the video made by T.M. Jacob against the no-confidence motion moved by the then Left opposition against the Congress-led government of Oommen Chandy in July 2005.

While he was handed over the written copy of the speech, he was told that the video cannot be given because it is not an official document.

Following this, he approached the state information commission, who directed the information officer of the assembly to provide him the tape, but the officer refused.

Mohandas then ordered the assembly’s information officer to pay a fine of Rs.250 per day till he hands over the video, while the Privileges and Ethics Committee of the assembly is up in arms against him for encroaching on the rights of the state legislature.

Speaking to reporters here Monday, Assembly Speaker K. Radhakrishnan said the committee is discussing the issue and it is meeting again Wednesday.

‘According to the rules and procedures of the Kerala assembly, it is the written document that is considered the official document and not the video. The rules are clear and it was even accepted by the Kerala High Court in another case,’ Radhakrishnan said.

In reply to a question about the Rs.250 fine per day levied by the CIC, he said that the assembly would take care of it.

‘First, let the decision of the Privileges and Ethics Committee come and then further things can be taken up,’ he said.

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