Criminal cases against MPs/MLAs can't be withdrawn without HC approval: SC
"No prosecution against MP/MLA to be withdrawn without leave of High Court", said the bench comprisingChief Justice N.V. Ramana, justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said no criminal case can be withdrawn against MPs and MLAs without the approval of the concerned High Court.
Amicus curiae senior advocate Vijay Hansaria submitted a report in the top court. The report suggested that withdrawing of prosecution under section 321 of CrPC is permissible in public interest and cannot be done for political consideration. The report said the state governments should be allowed to withdraw cases against former or sitting legislators only after the High Court's approval. It added such application can be made in good faith, in the interest of public policy and justice and not to thwart or stifle the process of law.
The amicus made the recommendation in a petition relating to fast-tracking of criminal trials against sitting and former MPs/MLAs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana noted that the issue of misuse of power under section 321 regarding withdrawal of cases is before us. "No prosecution against MP/MLA to be withdrawn without leave of High Court", said the bench also comprising justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant.
Hansaria, who was assisted by advocate Sneha Kalita, during the hearing cited that the UP government has sought to withdraw 76 cases against elected representatives, including the Muzaffarnagar riot cases against Sangeet Som, Kapil Dev, Suresh Rana and Sadhvi Prachi. "As per the said news report, all the four gave inflammatory statements against a community and are accused of offences u/s 188 IPC (joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 353 IPC (assault or criminal force to deter public servant), 153A IPC (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, etc, and acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 341 IPC (wrongful restraint), and 435 IPC (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage).
"These cases relate to Muzzafarnagar riots in which 65 persons were killed and around 40,000 persons were displaced. Another news report was published on January 12, 2020 stating that the Government has decided to withdraw 76 such cases", said the amicus report.