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Karnataka High Court stays govt order dropping 61 criminal cases against ministers, MLAs

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The Karnataka High Court on Monday stayed the government order dated August 31 this year dropping 61 criminal cases against Ministers and MLAs.

The division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Vishwajith Shetty was hearing a petition filed by the People Union of Civil Liberties, Karnataka, challenging the August 31 order by which the government had decided to grant permission for the withdrawal of prosecution of 61 cases, under Section 321 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Advocate Clifton D’Rozario, appearing for the petitioners, had argued that the decision was against the rule of law. The cases withdrawn include ones against state Law Minister JC Madhuswamy, Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi and Agriculture Minister B.C. Patil, claimed the petition.

The bench 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.

“We direct that no further steps shall be taken on the basis of order dated August 31, 2020,” ordered the High Court.

Also Read: Gujarat High Court issues notice to state govt on mid-day meal schemes

Earlier, the High Court 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 CrPC, 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.

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