The Kerala High Court on 30th march termed as “serious” the allegation that state Power Minister MM Mani made “unsavoury” remarks against women at a recent public meeting in Idukki.
The observation was made by a high court’s vacation bench of justices PN Ravindran and PV Asha while hearing a plea by Kerala resident George Vattukulam, who has sought a court-monitored probe into the allegations that Mani made the “sexually-loaded, anti-women statements” at a public meeting.
While hearing the plea against Mani, the court asked the state counsel if the Kerala police chief was not aware of it.
The bench posted the query as the state counsel opposed Vattukulam’a plea. The bench then also directed the petitioner to produce the CD of the minister’s speech and the copy of the complaint made to police in this regard.
The state counsel opposed the plea, contending that the petition was not maintainable as the petitioner ought to have approached the police or a magisterial court for a probe into the matter.
The counsel denied that the minister made any derogatory remarks against women. He added he was mentioning about media persons during his speech.
At this, the high court observed that the media persons too have their fundamental rights.
The bench subsequently posted the matter for further hearing on next Tuesday.
The petitioner has alleged that Mani had used abusive language against women leaders and activists of “Pembilai Orumai”, a group of plantation workers in Idukki district who had organised a month-long stir in Munnar last year.
“The respondent is a habitual offender and regularly uses abusive language and sexually-loaded statements especially against the women,” the petition said.
Mani, however, had refuted the allegation against him on the floor of the state assembly. He had told the assembly that he had not used any offensive language against women.
“I have not used the word woman even once in my 17-minute speech,” which, he claimed, had been edited by the media, a section of which was against him.
I have not used the word woman even once in my 17-minute speech
The petitioner alleged Mr Mani outraged the modesty of women by using abusive language, and statements with sexual overtones against more than 10,000 women who participated in a historic struggle. Mr Mani had earlier insulted a woman principal of Painavu Government Polytechnic using abusive language and later he apologised for that, the petitioner said. The minister is a habitual offender and regularly uses abusive language and lewd remarks against women. The petitioner also accused Mr Mani of using abusive language against efficient civil service officers. The petitioner submitted that the state police chief is not taking any action in the wake of the controversial speech. “Even if a complaint is filed against the minister, there is no chance for further proceedings.”