Muzaffarnagar riots: Attempt to withdraw cases to face higher legal scrutiny

Apex Court asked High Courts to examine the withdrawal of cases against MPs & MLAs since September 2020

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh government’s petition seeking withdrawal of Muzaffarnagar riot cases may face higher legal scrutiny due to Supreme Court’s order which was issued on Tuesday.

As per the court’s order, no criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs can be withdrawn by state governments without prior orders from the state High Courts.

While hearing a petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking a direction to debar those convicted MLAs and MPs from contesting elections for life, a three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana and also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vineet Saran on Tuesday said, “No criminal case against sitting (former) MPs and MLAs can be withdrawn by the State Govts without prior orders from the State High Court”.

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It may be mentioned that in December 2020, the UP government filed a petition seeking withdrawal of cases against politicians who are accused in the riot case. However, the petition is still pending.

On Tuesday, amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria said that the state government had sought withdrawal of cases against politicians including Sangeet Som, Kapil Dev, Suresh Rana, and Sadhvi Prachi.

Many other state governments have passed some sort of orders too to withdraw cases against their respective public representatives, who were convicted of cases, Hansaria said.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the Apex Court said that the State High Courts are requested to examine the withdrawal of cases against MPs & MLAs since September 2020 and listed the matter for further hearing to August 25, 2021.

Apart from the cases since September 2020, pending petitions seeking withdrawal of cases against MPs and MLAs will face higher legal scrutiny.

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