UP withdraws 77 cases of Muzaffarnagar riots, gives no reason

The UP government has withdrawn 77 cases under Section 321 of CrPC. It did not give any reason for such a decision of withdrawal under the provision.

What were the 77 cases about?

The 77 cases which the Uttar Pradesh government withdrew were related to the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. The cases included offenses entailing a life sentence too. The state government did not give any specific reason for such a hasty withdrawal. This is what the Supreme Court said on 24th August, Tuesday.

What was done for the speedy disposal of the cases?

A bench of judges, including Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant is scheduled to hear a request filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. This plea seeks speedy disposal of the cases against the lawmakers. But hearing the matter on August 10, this Supreme Court bench had directed that no prosecution against a sitting or former legislator would be withdrawn without the leave of the High Court.

What did Hansaria have to do with these 77 cases?

The appointed amicus curiae in this matter are senior advocate Vijay Hansaria. He filed a report through another advocate Sneha Kalita. Hansaria said that according to the state government, there were a total of 510 cases relating to the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. The number of accused was 6869 in five districts of the Meerut Zone in the cases registered.

Among these 510 cases, 175 of them had a charge sheet filed, in 165 cases the final report was submitted and in the case of the remaining 170, they were expunged. Even after this, the state government withdrew 77 cases. The government orders do not give any reason for such a decision. It just states that the administration has taken the entire event under consideration and decided to withdraw the particular cases. This is what we came to know from Hansaria. He even said that many of such cases related to dacoity under Section 397 IPC are punishable with imprisonment for the entire life.

Hansaria added that the High court might examine the 77 cases that the UP government withdrew. The High Court would have to exercise revisional jurisdiction under Section 401 of the CrPC.

What happened in December last year relating to the cases?

Last year during the month of December, the government of Uttar Pradesh had released a list of names of leaders. The government withdrew cases against them without any reason. There were three Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs namely Sangeet Som, Kapil Dev, and Suresh Rana. The list also included the right-wing leader Sadhvi Prachi.

Instances relating to the withdrawal of the 77 cases

Vijay Hansaria rightly pointed out that there were instances along the same lines as the withdrawal of the 77 cases. The Karnataka government has withdrawn 62 cases, the Tamil Nadu government has done the same with 4 cases, Telangana has withdrawn 14 cases. Along with them, the government of Kerela has also withdrawn 36 cases.

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