The Uttar Pradesh govt withdrew 77 cases related to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, including offences involving a life sentence, without giving reasons, the SC was told on Tuesday.
A bench comprising chief justice N.V. Ramana, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant is scheduled to hear a plea demanding speedy disposal of cases against lawmakers – filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay
Vijay Hansaria- who is a senior advocate, has been appointed as amicus curiae in this matter, in his report filed through advocate Sneha Kalita, informed that the UP government has said that a total no. of 510 cases which were related to the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 were registered against 6,869 accused in 5 districts of the Meerut zone.
Out of these 510 cases, charge sheet was filed in 175 cases, final reports were submitted in 165 cases, and 170 cases were erased. Subsequently, the state govt withdrew 77 cases under Section 321 of the CrPC. The Government orders do not provide grounds for withdrawal of these cases and it only states that the authorities, after full consideration, have withdrawn the case, Hansaria submitted.
He further stated that many such cases are related to the offence of dacoity under Section 397 of IPC and are punishable by life imprisonment.
Hansaria said these 77 cases relating to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots which were withdrawn may be examined by the HC by using its revisional jurisdiction under section 401 or Cr.Pc in the light of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Kerala vs. K Ajith.
The amicus curiae also reported that some of the other state government has done the same- the Karnataka government has withdrawn 62 cases without giving any reason, Tamil Nadu has withdrawn four cases, Telangana dropped 14 cases and Kerala dropped 36 cases.
Hansaria submitted that the court, in its order dated 10 August 2021, had said that no prosecution against a presiding or former Member of Parliament / MLA is withdrawn without the consent of the high court.
“It is submitted that withdrawal from getting prosecuted under section 321 of the CrPC cannot be done for political consideration and is only permissible in the public interest. Such applications can be made only in good faith, for the purpose of public policy and justice and not to disrupt or obstruct the law and legal process” he said.
Amicus curiae in his report told the court that due to the repeated abuse of power by the state government in withdrawing prosecution for political considerations, the court may issue certain directions in addition to the already prescribed guidelines.
The SC on august 10 had ordered that state prosecutors cannot withdraw prosecution against lawmakers under the Cr.Pc without obtaining prior permission from the high court. The Supreme Court had expressed dissatisfaction with the non-submission of status reports by the central government and its agencies including the CBI. The SC said that a special bench would be set up by them to monitor cases against politicians.
The Supreme Court also said that the special court judges who are hearing cases against MPs and MLAs cannot be transferred until further notice.