The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to furnish details of all the criminal cases relating to Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) which were withdrawn after September 16 last year with the reasons for the same. The details have been sought by the High Court pursuant to a direction by the Supreme Court to all the High Courts to examine the "legality, propriety and bonafides" of withdrawals made after September 16, 2020, in cases relating to former and sitting legislators.
"Respondents (state government and police) are directed to furnish the details of the criminal cases withdrawn after September 16, 2020. Respondents are further directed to furnish a consolidated statement, explaining the reasons for withdrawal of the cases registered against MPs/MLAs (both sitting and former)," the High Court said.
With the direction, the court listed the matter for hearing on January 5, 2022. The apex court in August this year had directed that prosecution against the lawmakers under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) cannot be withdrawn without prior sanction from the respective High Courts.
In its August 10 order, the apex court had directed that no prosecution against a sitting or former MP or MLA shall be withdrawn without the leave of the High Court in the respective writ petitions registered on their own pursuant to the Supreme Court order.
The High Courts are requested to examine the withdrawals, whether pending or disposed of since September 16, 2020, in light of guidelines laid down by this court, the top court had said. The order came on a PIL of 2016 filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay on fast-tracking of criminal trials against MP and MLAs besides seeking a life ban on convicted politicians from contesting polls.