'Cases against MLAs not to be dropped sans HC approval'

No criminal cases against politicians to be withdrawn without HC's approval: SC

Uttar Pradesh government has sought to withdraw 76 cases against elected representatives

Supreme Court of India. Credit: Reuters File Photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said no criminal case against MPs and MLAs can be withdrawn without the approval of the High Court concerned.

“No prosecution against MP/MLA to be withdrawn without leave of High Court,” a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice N V Ramana said.

The bench, also comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, also ordered that special court judges, hearing cases against accused MPs and MLAs, should not be transferred until further orders.

Senior advocate and amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria, who was assisted by advocate Sneha Kalita, said that the Uttar Pradesh 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. 

In a report submitted to the top court, he said that withdrawal from prosecution under Section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code was permitted in the 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. 

The report added such application by the Public Prosecutor 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 filed by advocate and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay relating to fast-tracking of criminal trials against sitting and former MPs/MLAs. 

He referred to a news report of January 12, 2020, stating that the UP government has decided to withdraw 76 cases related to the Muzzafarnagar riots in which 65 persons were killed and around 40,000 persons were displaced.