High of Karnataka stayed the government order which was seeking to drop criminal proceeding against 61elected Representatives and Ministers:

High of Karnataka stayed the government order which was seeking to drop criminal proceeding against 61elected Representatives and Ministers:

On Monday, the High court of Karnataka stayed the government order dated August 31, by which it had decided to drop criminal prosecution in 61 cases against elected Representatives and Ministers.

The division bench comprising of chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty said that We direct that no further steps shall be taken on the basis of order dated Aug 31, 2020.

Background:

The court was hearing a petition filed by the 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 section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The court has directed the state government to file its statement of objections to the petition by January 22, 2021, and posted the matter for further hearing on January 29, 2021.

In the previous hearing the court in its order had observed that :

“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 the power to reject the prayer”.The Government which seeks to quash the criminal proceeding are 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 A case from 2017 against Hospete MLA Anand Singh is also sought to be withdrawn.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.

Court with reference to apex Court order in the case of S.K.SHUKLA AND OTHERS vs. STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH AND OTHERS, observed 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. The decision also observed that in the event the Public Prosecutor disagrees, he will have to return the brief. It 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.

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