Kerala assembly panel calls for summoning CIC, deputy

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 24 (Calcutta Tube) In a rare move, the privileges and ethics committee of the Kerala assembly Wednesday decided to recommend to the house to summon the state’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and his deputy for breach of privilege.

‘We could have asked him to appear before the committee but we decided that since there is ample evidence of the wrong he has done, we decided to recommend to summon them. Neither the committee nor the speaker can decide to summon them, it is the house that has to decide. In case there is a dispute, it would be put to vote,’ committee chairman V.J. Thankappan told IANS.

Trouble has been brewing between the legislature and the CIC Palatt Mohandas after advocate D.B. Vinu approached the assembly’s information officer for a copy of the speech and video of T.M. Jacob’s speech supporting 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 as it is not an official document.

Vinu then approached the state information commission, who directed the information officer of the assembly to provide him the tape, but the officer declined.

Mohandas then ordered the assembly’s information officer to pay a fine of Rs.250 per day till he handed over the video.

Member of the committee and senior opposition legislator P.C. George said he was of the opinion that first the CIC should be served a show cause notice.

‘It is only democratic to give chance to a person who has done a wrong to correct himself. If he had failed to act, then he could have been summoned before the house,’ said George.

Mohandas, the CIC, is a former chief secretary of the state.

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