The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Karnataka government has decided to rescind 62 criminal cases against several of its party’s leaders, including sitting MPs and MLAs, reported News18 on Thursday. The decision was reportedly taken on the suggestions from a sub-committee led by state Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
However, the state’s director general and inspector general of police, the director of prosecution and government litigation and the law department had recommended against the withdrawal of the cases.
The cases being withdrawn include one against the state’s Law Minister JC Madhuswamy and Tourism Minister CT Ravi, charged under sections 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code. The case is related to a scuffle that broke out between students of two communities in Mysuru district’s Hunsur city in November 2015.
A separate case from 2017 that was withdrawn against Hospete MLA Anand Singh pertains to blocking of the taluk office by 300 locals after stone-pelting and vandalism. The incident had caused property damage of Rs 3 lakh. The politician, who was then with the Congress, was accused of criminal intimidation, assault on a government official and obstruction of duty.
A case against Karnataka Agriculture Minister BC Patil, charged in a 2012 case related to immersion of a Ganesh idol, is also reportedly among the withdrawn cases.
Despite his department’s suggestion against the withdrawals, Madhuswamy claimed this was a routine affair. “Decision on these 62 cases was taken earlier, we have withdrawn cases in the past as well in which Congress and JD(S) leaders were involved. But this cannot mean that those involved in cases like the Bengaluru riots and loot will be spared,” he told News18.
Madhuswamy added that the cases being withdrawn were only those where the individuals fought for rights. “If they were fighting for fundamental rights of people of their constituencies and cases of public importance where people stage a stir against the establishment, which they have the right to and at that time, police filed suo moto cases, such cases are being withdrawn,” he said.
The state law minister added that the sub-committee conducted a routine evaluation of cases and that it actively withdrew several of them to ease burden on the courts. He claimed that many of the withdrawn cases or those being considered for withdrawal entailed minor penalties.