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Following News Report About Dropping Of Communal Violence Cases, Karnataka High Court Seeks Details Of Withdrawal Applications Filed

Mustafa Plumber
29 Jan 2021 1:22 PM GMT
Following News Report About Dropping Of Communal Violence Cases, Karnataka High Court Seeks Details Of Withdrawal Applications Filed
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Taking note of a news paper report about the withdrawal of 21 communal violence cases, the Karantaka High Court on Friday directed the State Government to place on record all withdrawal applications filed by prosecution based on the August 31, 2020 order of the government.The news report published in The Indian Express(January 29) regarding the withdrawal of 21 communal violence cases was...

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Taking note of a news paper report about the withdrawal of 21 communal violence cases, the Karantaka High Court on Friday directed the State Government to place on record all withdrawal applications filed by prosecution based on the August 31, 2020 order of the government.

The news report published in The Indian Express(January 29) regarding the withdrawal of 21 communal violence cases was brought to the attention of a division bench headed by Chief Justice AS Oka, which is hearing a PIL challenging the August 31 decision of the government to drop criminal cases against several politicians.

On December 21, 2020, the division bench had ordered that no further proceedings should be taken on the basis of the August 31 decision.

The Indian Express reported on Friday that even before the December 21 stay order of the High Court, many courts in Karnataka had allowed the withdrawal of as many as 21 cases related to communal violence.

"As many as 21 cases involving communal violence and violence in the course of cow protection were dropped by courts in Karnataka between October and December last year, based on an August 31, 2020 order by the government The beneficiaries were the BJP MP from Mysuru Prathap Simha, 206 members of Hindu groups, and 106 Muslims", the Express report stated. The news report added that the criminal cases were dropped ahead of a December 21, 2020, order of the Karnataka High Court.

On going through the report, the bench said :

"To avoid any controversy, we direct that apart from reporting compliance to an order dated December 1, 2020, the State government will place on record details of cases where applications under section 321 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), were made in relation to cases, covered by order dated 31st August 2020."

On December 1, the High Court had observed that Public Prosecutors have to independently apply their mind regarding the filing of withdrawal applications and should not mechanically act on the government instructions. The High Court had also directed the serving of the copy of the order to all Public Prosecutors to make them aware of the correct legal position.

Today, the High Court asked the Government to inform if the Public Prosecutors, who filed the withdrawal applications after December 1, were informed of the Court order dated December 1.

The bench said :

"The details of applications made from December 1 2020, shall be placed on record while placing the details on record state will inform whether the public prosecutors who filed the applications from December 1, were provided with a copy of order dated December 1."

The Court also reiterated that the order passed by it on December 21, by which it stayed the government order dated August 31 2020, through which the state government decided to drop criminal prosecution in 61 cases against elected Representatives and Ministers, shall continue to operate till further orders.

The developments took place in a PIL filed by People's Union of Civil Liberties(PUCL). The matter will be heard next on February 15.

In its December 1, order the court had said :
"The law on this aspect has been laid down by the Apex Court in the case of S.K.SHUKLA AND OTHERS vs. STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH AND OTHERS . It is 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. It is further observed that in the event the Public Prosecutor disagrees, he will have to return the brief. It is 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."
It had added :
"Moreover, the action under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C) can be taken only with the permission of the Court. 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 had then refused to stay the August 31 order but had directed the State Government to forward copies of this order to the Public Prosecutors to whom instructions have been given to withdraw from prosecution in 61 cases. 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. Subsequently on the next hearing on December 21, 20202 the court had stayed the government order.

The court gave the direction while hearing 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

As per the plea, 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, had argued that the decision was against the rule of law.

 

Click Here To Download Order of December 21

 Click here to download the order of December 1





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