UP govt withdraws cases against BJP leaders accused in 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots

The decision was taken by the government in December 2020 and the trial court has accepted the application, thus effecting the withdrawal

Muzaffarnagar riots case

A court in Muzaffarnagar has allowed withdrawal of cases against BJP leaders like Uttar Pradesh minister Suresh Rana, MLA Sangit Som, former MP Bhartendu Singh and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi, in connection with the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case, reported The Wire. Over 60 people died and around 40,000 were displaced in the violence. After the incident, arrests were made and the National Security Act (NSA) was also invoked. However, later on, the NSA advisory board had revoked the charges against them and bail was granted.

Sessions Judge, special court, Ram Sudh Singh allowed the application made by the government for withdrawal of the cases in which the accused were booked for violating prohibitory orders, deterring public servants from discharging their duties and wrongful restraint. The cases were registered after complaint that the accused participated in a mahapanchayat, organised by members of the Jat community to discuss the issue of two Hindu men having been lynched by a Muslim mob soon after they had killed a Muslim youth. The speeches, allegedly, incited violence which led to the Muzaffarnagar riots.

The application made by the Yogi Adityanath led UP government filed the application stating that it has been decided to not proceed with the cases against the BJP leaders in public interest and hence, the same should be allowed to be withdrawn by the court. The said decision was made in December 2020.

Earlier this month, a court in Muzaffarnagar accepted the closure report filed by Special Investigation Team (SIT) with respect to BJP MLA Sangeet Som’s controversial statement with respect to an inflammatory video ahead of the communal riots in the area, in 2013. 

When similar attempts were made by the BJP government in Karnataka to withdraw 21 cases involving communal violence, and violence in the course of cow protection, the Karnataka High Court had observed, “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 prima facie case is made out or not and that the Court has power to reject the prayer.”

The court had also cited the Supreme Court precedent in SK Shukla and ors v. state of UP and ors, where the apex court had stated 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 court further stated that the prosecutor cannot act like a post box or act on the dictates of the government and has to act objectively as an officer of the court.


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