The Kerala High Court Wednesday granted interim protection from arrest to six Twenty20 party leaders, including party chief Sabu M Jacob, who are accused of committing offences under the Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act) [Sabu M Jacob v State of Kerala and others].
Justice Kauser Edappagath granted the interim relief to the politicians and directed them to appear before the nvestigating officers upon receiving notice.
The Court further added that the investigating officers should not harass the petitioners, and posted the case for further consideration immediately after the Court’s upcoming Christmas vacation.
The Court passed the order while considering a plea moved by Sabu M Jacob, coordinator of the Twenty20 party, and five other members of the party, to quash the FIR registered against them under Sections 3(1)(r) and (u) of the SC/ST Act.
The FIR was filed on receiving a complaint by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and MLA, PV Sreenijin, alleging humiliation on grounds of caste by the members of the Twenty20 party on various occasions and events.
The plea filed by the Twenty20 party members claimed that the complaint was filed by Sreenijin to wreck vengeance against them and nothing else.
The petitioners claimed that the alleged incident of the petitioners being casteist according to Sreenjin, happened due to political differences and not because he belonged to a scheduled caste.
Pertinently, the petitioners submitted that even if the FIR is taken at face value it does not make out a case against the petitioners as the complaint does not disclose the essential ingredients of the offenses under sections 3(1)(r) and (u) of the SC/ST Act.
The petitioners were represented by advocates Blaze K Jose, Urmila Zacharia and Gopika P.