The opposition led by the United Democratic Front staged a walkout in the Kerala assembly and attacked the LDF government over the issue of DGP TP Senkumar's transfer. The opposition blamed the government over the embarrassment aused to the state after the Supreme Court imposed Rs 25,000 as cost after dismissing a clarification petition in the case.
The government clarified in the House no disrespect was shown to the Supreme Court in the Senkumar case and it was well within its rights to seek clarification.
The government had on April 11 defended in the apex court its decision to transfer Senkumar, saying he had protected "erring" police officials in the 2016 Puttingal temple fire tragedy in which 110 people were killed.
The state government had told the court that Senkumar's transfer was not a punishment for the "lapse" which had led to April 10, 2016, incident but it was for how he had handled the fallout of the tragedy.
On April 10 last year, when Senkumar was Kerala's DGP, there was an explosion leading to a blaze after a fireworks display went awry at Puttingal Temple in Kollam district. 110 people had died while over 300 were injured in the incident.
On Monday, the House witnessed exchanges between the treasury and opposition benches over imposition of the cost. Vijayan maintained that no cost or penalty had been imposed and said the apex court had asked the state to remit the amount to its legal services authority for juvenile justice cases. He said government had not deliberately tried to delay implementation of the April 29 apex court order, directing it to re-instate Senkumar.
He also maintained that government had not submitted any apology in the case. Defending the government's decision, he said the state was well within its rights to seek clarification and clear its 'legal doubts'. "Government has the right to file a review, appeal or a revision petition as per law and it is a normal practise," he said.
"At no level has government shown disrespect to the Supreme Court ruling', he said.
Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said there was no confusion with regard to the verdict, which was "a huge blow" to the state government. Seeking permission to move the motion, Congress MLA K Muralidharan said that after the LDF came to power a "hasty decision" was taken to remove Senkumar as DGP.
Senkumar, who is due to retire on June 30, was removed two days after the CPI(M)-led LDF government assumed office on May 25 last year. He was re-instated last week as DGP following the directives of the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from PTI)