Withdrawing prosecution based on religion highly objectionable: High Court
Nelapapdu (Amaravati): "Withdrawing prosecution based on religion is against the public interest," a landmark observation pronounced by the Division Bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court here on Thursday.
The division bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice J Umadevi was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by P Ganesh, an associate of Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) against the State government's decision to withdraw the prosecution of Muslim youth, who attacked a police station in Guntur in May 2018.
The High Court issued stay orders on the State Government's GO RT No 776. "Withdrawing prosecution based on religion is against public interest. We suggest petitioner's advocate make NIA as the party in the case," instructed the High Court to the State government.
It may be noted that the State government ordered the withdrawal of prosecution against accused Muslim youth and directed the DGP to issue instructions to APPs and SHOs concerned to file a petition under Section 321 of the CrPC, before Courts concerned for withdrawal of prosecution in crime registered in old Guntur police station.
Challenging the GO RT No 776, issued on August 12 this year by the Home Department, counsel for petitioner JV Phanidath Chanakya argued that this attack was nothing but waging a war against the sovereignty of the government. About 2,000 youth attacked the Old Guntur police station demanding handing over of a youth who committed an alleged sexual assault on a minor girl at that time. In this attack on the police station, the police personnel were severely injured. The mob used deadly weapons and caused injuries to the police personnel and inconvenience to the public, explained the counsel. Based on the complaint by the aggrieved police personnel, six FIRs were registered against the accused.
Justice Rakesh Kumar observed, "The using of Muslim youth in the GO is highly objectionable on the part of the Government. Even the language used in the GO is not correct in our secular and democratic country. It is a fit case for NIA to be probed into."
Chanakya said that the Director-General of Police himself asked the government to withdraw the prosecution in this case, in the month of February this year.
While issuing a stay, the division bench directed the government pleader to file the counter by October 1. The counsel for the petitioner was directed to implead the NIA in the case.