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Supreme Court Allows Kerala Govt To Withdraw Plea To Restore UAPA Charges Against Alleged Maoist Leader

Deepankar Malviya
23 Sep 2022 8:33 AM GMT
Supreme Court Allows Kerala Govt To Withdraw Plea To Restore UAPA Charges Against Alleged Maoist Leader

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the State of Kerala to withdraw the petition filed by it seeking to restore the UAPA charges against alleged Maoist leader Roopesh.

The State had approached the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Kerala High Court discharging alleged Roopesh of charges under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code.

Later, the State expressed its intention to withdraw the matter, which prompted the bench to enquire about the reasons.

Today, Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for the State of Kerala, submitted before the bench of Justice M. R. Shah and Justice Krishna Murari : "This is a question of law, view taken is that there is a judgment of this court. Strict view is to be preferred. Once this become legal position it will apply to all. We do not wish to pursue this litigation".
"If it's a question of law why are you withdrawing?", Justice Shah asked.
The senior counsel replied that the High Court's judgment favouring a strict interpretation of UAPA appear to be the correct position.

"We feel this is the correct position regarding UAPA....Strict view is preferable than expansive view and we are of the view that the implementation of judgment....What has been decided is that strict view is to be preferred in as far as this statute is concerned and this is not aimed at only this person once this becomes the legal position, as far as the state is concerned, it will apply to all persons so therefore it's the decision based on legal aspect... which is why we do not wish to pursue the case further", Gupta submitted.

The bench then allowed the withdrawal of the petition, but left the questions of law open.

The High Court bench of Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice C. Jayachandran had discharged Roopesh, who allegedly along with members of the banned Maoist organization distributed pamphlets containing "seditious writings" in tribal colonies in Wayanad district, on the ground of irregularities in the order granting sanction for prosecution.
The High Court in the order dated March 17, 2022 had held that the sanction under the UAPA granted after six months from the date of receipt of recommendation of the authority is not a valid sanction. The State in the petition before the Top Court has argued that stipulation of time under rule 3 & 4 of UAPA (Recommendation of Sanction Rules) 2008 is only directory in nature. It was further stated in the plea that the cognisance was taken by the Magistrate upon police report and therefore section 460(e), CrPC was squarely applicable & irregularity in proceedings would not vitiate the entire proceedings.
While assailing the High Court's order, the State of Kerala has also averred that the accused is involved in serious crime and if they are allowed to evade prosecution on grounds of technicality, there would be no assurance of them not repeating the crime.
Case Title – State of Kerala and Ors. vs Roopesh – SLP (Crl.) No. 6981-6983/2022

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