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'No Court Bound By Govt Decision To Withdraw Prosecution' : Karnataka High Court On Move To Drop Cases Against Ministers, MLAs

Mustafa Plumber
3 Dec 2020 2:01 PM GMT
No Court Bound By Govt Decision To Withdraw Prosecution : Karnataka High Court On Move To Drop Cases Against Ministers, MLAs
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The Karnataka High Court on Thursday issued notice on a petition which challenged the Government decision to drop criminal prosecution in 61 cases against elected representatives and ministers.A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty observed : "No Court is bound by such a decision taken to withdraw from the prosecution. Even if an application is...

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The Karnataka High Court on Thursday issued notice on a petition which challenged the Government decision to drop criminal prosecution in 61 cases against elected representatives and ministers.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty observed :

"No Court is bound by such a decision taken to withdraw from the prosecution. Even if an application is made under Section 321 of Cr.P.C, the Courts are duty bound to assess whether a prima facie case is made out or not and that the Court has power to reject the prayer".

The Court was considering a petition filed by People Union of Civil Liberties, Karnataka, challenging the August 31 order wherein the Government has granted permission for the withdrawal of prosecution of the 61 cases, under the section 321 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

The cases being withdrawn include against the state's Law Minister JC Madhuswamy, Tourism Minister CT Ravi and Agriculture Minister B C Patil.

A case from 2017  against Hospete MLA Anand Singh is also sought to be withdrawn. 

Advocate Clifton D' Rozario, appearing for the petitioners, argued that the decision was against the rule of law. 

The court refused to stay the decision. However, it referred to the Supreme Court order in the case of S.K.SHUKLA AND OTHERS vs. STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH AND OTHERS, which held that even if government instructs to the Public Prosecutor to withdraw from the prosecution of a case, the latter after applying his mind to the facts of the case may either agree with the instructions and file a petition before the Court stating grounds of withdrawal or disagree therewith having found a good case for prosecution and refuse to file the withdrawal petition. The decision also observed that in the event the Public Prosecutor disagrees, he will have to return the brief. It further observed that the Public Prosecutor cannot act like a post box or act on the dictates of the State Government and he has to act objectively as he is also an officer of the Court.

Following which, the court directed the State Government to forward copies of its order to the Public Prosecutors to whom instructions have been given to withdraw from prosecution in 61 cases.

The Court said that the Public Prosecutors should invite the attention of concerned court to the observations of the High Court when making application under Section 321 CrPC.

It said "The Public Prosecutors are bound to invite attention of the concerned Court to this order when an application is made under Section 321 of Cr.P.C."

The matter has been posted for further hearing on December 21.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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