The Karnataka High Court has directed a special court to reinstate a 2012 land denotification case against Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, which was dropped by a sessions court in 2016, reported Bar & Bench on Saturday.
The High Court also ordered the special court to take cognisance of offence against former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu in another illegal land denotification case on the basis of a police chargesheet, reported The Hindu.
“The special court is directed to take cognizance of the offences made out in the chargesheet against respondent Nos.10 and 11 [named as accused Nos.1 and 2 in the chargesheet] and proceed in accordance with law,” Justice John Michael Cunha ordered on March 17.
In 2016, activist Alam Pasha had filed for reinstatement of the case against Yediyurappa, Naidu and others. Yediyurappa and Naidu are accused of using their positions to allow releasing over 24 acres of government-acquired land in north Bengaluru to private persons, leading to a loss to the state exchequer.
During the hearing, Pasha argued that the sessions court had wrongly dropped the case in 2016 by citing a closure report filed by the police.
The Lokayukta police had filed a report after conducting an investigation and dropped the cases against nine people as they could not collect any evidence against them. They had, however, filed a chargesheet against Yediyurappa and Naidu.
In the chargesheet, Yediyurappa was accused of illegally denotifying 20 acres of land at Hoovinayakanahalli village in Bengaluru’s Jala Hobli. Naidu was accused of illegally denotifying four acres six guntas (nearly 0.14 acres) of land at Makanakuppe village in Nelamangala taluk of Bengaluru Rural district.
On Wednesday, Pasha told the High Court that despite the framing of the chargesheet, the session court had dropped the case against Yediyurappa and Naidu on the basis of a “B Summary” report on the nine others in the case. A “B Summary” report is one in which allegations are found to be false or no evidence is found against the accused after the completion of the investigation.
The petitioner said that the sessions court order was illegal. He also contended that the special judge of the session court had no jurisdiction to dismiss the complaint against Yediyurappa and Naidu while considering the closure report on the nine others.
The respondents argued against Pasha’s petition. The High Court observed that the special court’s order cannot be sustained under law as it was passed while considering the “B Summary” report against the accused No. 1 to 9.
However, the High Court also observed that the special court did not consider the final report submitted against accused No. 1 to 9. “A perusal of the impugned order on the face of it reveals that the learned special judge has not considered the final report filed by respondent No.13 in so far accused Nos.1 to 9 are concerned and no order has been passed either rejecting or accepting the report insofar as accused Nos.1 to 9 are concerned,” the High Court said.
The High Court went on to say that Yedirurappa and Naidu were not named in the first information report and no order was passed by the court under Section 156(3) [relating to the police officer’ s power to investigate cognisable case] of the CrPC.
However, once the chargesheet is filed, the court has no other option than to take cognisance of the offence and proceed in accordance with law, the High Court noted.
The High Court also refused to concur to the special judge’s reasoning.
“In the light of this legal position, the reasoning of the learned Special Judge that there were no allegations in the complaint against the charge sheeted accused Sri. B.S. Yeddiyurappa and Sri. Katta Subramanya Naidu and therefore, no cognizance could be taken against them being contrary to the settled principles of law, cannot be sustained. Likewise, the reasoning of the Special Court that for want of affidavit filed in support of the allegations, the original complaint itself has to be dismissed is based on the misconception of rudiments of law and misreading the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Priyanka Srivatsava’s case.”— Justice John Michael Cunha, Karnataka High Court
At the hearing, Pasha’s counsel said that the complainant was “apprehending danger to his life”. The High Court then directed the police to provide necessary protection to Pasha as per the law, while asking him to approach the jurisdictional court.