Govt defends Kurien in Rajya Sabha
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The government on Tuesday "emphatically" defended Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, saying he had never been an accused in the Suryanelli rape case in Kerala 17 years ago, amidst a walkout from the CPM members who questioned the propriety of the government in speaking for an officer of the legislature.
The CPM later said it would not allow Kurien to preside over the House whenever a woman-centric matter came up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath read out a statement on behalf of the government in which he recounted the sequence of events in the 17-year-old case. "An impression is sought to be created that there are some new disclosures. All these disclosures... do not challenge the established fact of the impossibility of Prof P J Kurien reaching the alleged place which he arrived on the basis of telephone records, key witnesses including the driver of the state car, the log book of the state car and the time and distance involved. This conclusion is reached by three investigating teams...," Nath said in his statement.
Before the minister began his statement, CPM's Sitaram Yechury raised a point of order questioning the government's effort to defend Kurien. "The centrality of the Indian Constitution is entirely being undermined by the government standing up to the defence of the Officer of the Legislature which is an independent authority in our Constitution. So where is the separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature? The moment the Executive defends the legislature, the Legislature becomes compromised to the Executive," Yechury said, before leading a walkout by his party MPs.
Yechury later told reporters that government's defence of Kurien amounted to an interference in the independence of the legislature.
"The Deputy Chairman must himself make a statement. The government cannot make a statement on his behalf defending him. When the government makes such a statement, the distinction between the independence of legislature and executive gets blurred and violates the Constitution," he said.
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