Court snubs Akhilesh on terror cases

HC says state govt can't withdraw charges, needs Centre's consent

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav suffered a serious setback when the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled that the state government had no authority to withdraw cases against the terror accused.

The court’s ruling came on a petition challenging the decision of the state government to withdraw charges against several terror accused, who were currently in various jails in the state.

The court said in its order that as most of the accused had been booked under the Central acts, the consent of the Central government was essential while for withdrawing the cases against them.

The court granted four weeks’ time to the Centre and the state governments to file their replies and referred the matter to a larger bench.

The petitioners had sought quashing of the state government’s decision to withdraw the cases paving the way for their release from the jails.

Move higher court

The state government said that it would examine the ruling and if need be, will move the higher court in appeal.

“It appears that the court has not commented on the merit of the has only raised the question of authority...the law department will examine the matter and then a decision on challenging the same will be taken,” said senior UP minister Azam Khan.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) had in its manifesto during the 2012 assembly polls in the state promised that that it ensure release of ‘innocent’ Muslim youths lodged in various jails in the state on charges of acts of terrorism.

Barely a few months after assuming the reins of the state, Akhilesh directed the law department to initiate steps to withdraw cases against 19 persons, who had been accused of terror acts and against whom cases were pending.

Among those, whose release were sought by the government, were some, who had been accused of triggering blasts that had killed several people.

In some cases, the district officials had opined that withdrawal of cases against the accused would not be in public interest. They had also claimed that the prosecution had credible evidence against all the blast accused.

Earlier a Barabanki district court had rejected the government application to take back terror charges against Gorakhpur serial blasts accused Tariq Kasmi and Khalid Mujahid. Mujahid later died while on way here from a court appearance from Faizabad.

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