In a significant decision, the Division Bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday observed that the state cannot withdraw a prosecution filed against any accused based on religion and noted that it was against the public interest, reports Hans India.

“Withdrawing prosecution based on religion is against the public interest,” a division bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice J Umadevi observed while hearing the public interest litigation (PIL).

A petition was filed by P Ganesh of Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) against the decision of the Andhra Pradesh government to withdraw the prosecution of Muslim youth, who had attacked a police station in Guntur in May 2018.

A mob of more than 2,000 Muslims had unleashed terror on the Old Guntur police station demanding handing over of a youth who had allegedly committed a sexual assault on a minor girl at that time. The mob had attacked the police station leaving the police personnel severely injured.

The mob used deadly weapons and caused injuries to the police personnel and inconvenience to the public. Six FIRs were registered against the accused based on the complaint by the aggrieved police personnel.

Andhra Pradesh govt had ordered withdrawal prosecution against Muslim youth

The Andhra Pradesh government had decided to withdraw prosecution against an accused Muslim youth and had directed the DGP to issue instructions to concerned officers to file a petition under Section 321 of the CrPC for the withdrawal of prosecution in crime registered in old Guntur police station.

However, the petitioners challenged the order issued by the Home Department and argued that this attack was nothing but waging a war against the sovereignty of the government.

Issuing stay orders on the state government’s order to withdraw prosecution the Court also instructed the government to make NIA as the party in the case.

Using religion to withdraw petition was highly objectionable, observes HC

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.”

JV Phanidath Chanakya, the counsel representing the petitioners, 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.

The High Court, stay the order, also 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.

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