Uttar Pradesh government withdraws 77 Muzaffarnagar riots cases stating 'without any reason'. Some cases include offences demanding life sentences. In 2013, there happened a heartbreaking clash between the Hindu-Muslim community which took many lives with it. And after six years of riots, no closure of the case is found yet. A bench consisting of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant will hear a petition filed by attorney Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a rapid resolution of charges involving legislators. This shocking decision has put justice in a questionable position all over again.
In his report filed through Advocate Sneha Kalita and Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria, who has been appointed amicus curiae in the case, mentioned that the state government has stated 510 cases were registered in the five districts of the Meerut Zone against 6,869 accused in the Muzzafarnagar riots in 2013. In 175 of the 510 cases, charge sheets were filed, final reports were submitted in 165 cases, and 170 cases were purged. Following that, the state government withdrew 77 cases under Section 321 of the CrPC. The government directives do not state why the matter was withdrawn under Section 321 of the CrPC. Hansaria said that it simply states that the administration has decided to withdraw the lawsuit after careful review.
Many of these instances, he claimed, include dacoity offences under Section 397 of the Indian Code, which are punished by life imprisonment. Hansaria stated that the high court may consider the 77 cases connected to the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 that were withdrawn under Section 321 of the CrPC by exercising revisional power under Section 401 of the CrPC.
According to the amicus curiae, the Karnataka government has withdrawn 62 cases without giving a reason, Tamil Nadu has withdrawn four cases, Telangana has withdrawn 14 cases, and Kerala has withdrawn 36 cases. In his report, the amicus advised the Supreme Court that, in light of the state's frequent abuse of authority in abandoning prosecutions for political and other reasons, the court should give additional directions in addition to the existing rules. He stated that after the order of this Court of September 16, 2020, all cases withdrawn under Section 321 CrPC may be considered by the respective high courts exercising revisional jurisdiction.
On August 10, the Supreme Court issued an important order affecting politicians facing criminal charges, limiting the power of state prosecutors and stating that they are not allowed to drop charges against parliamentarians under the legislation. The amicus curiae previously noted that states such as Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, and Karnataka have attempted to have criminal proceedings against politicians dismissed under section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which allows prosecutors to dismiss cases.
No prosecution against a current or former MP/MLA may be withdrawn without the permission of the high court in the separate suo-motu writ petitions filed in response to the top court's judgement. The high courts have been asked to assess all withdrawals filed since September 16, 2020, regardless of whether they are still pending or have been resolved, in light of the criteria set down by this court, it had stated. The Supreme Court had stated that to expedite the resolution of ongoing matters, officers presiding over Special Courts or CBI Courts involving the prosecution of MPs or MLAs must remain in their current positions till further directives are issued.
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