THE HARYANA government will not proceed with its decision on withdrawal of any cases registered during the 2016 Jat agitation till July 11, Haryana’s Advocate-General told the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday. This comes after the court was informed that many of the cases wherein withdrawal has been recommended are serious in nature.
Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan gave an undertaking before the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa that the state will not proceed with the applications moved before trial courts for withdrawal of the cases till next hearing of the case in which the division bench is monitoring the investigation of FIRs registered during the period of violence for Jat reservation in the state.
The government Tuesday informed the division bench that it has granted permission for withdrawal from the prosecution of accused in 407 cases till date. The state has claimed that the decision “would pave way for bringing brotherhood, harmony and peace among various communities in the state and the same shall be in a larger public interest.”
A total of 2,105 cases were registered during the Jat agitation. Withdrawal of 137 cases had been recommended last year. The government has now decided to apply for withdrawal of 270 more cases.
Senior advocate Anupam Gupta, who is an amicus in the case, told the court that the government had, in February this year, in order to ensure a trouble-free visit of the BJP national president Amit Shah, had assured the leaders of Jat organisations that it would withdraw the cases registered against the accused and described it as an effort to “wriggle out” of the monitoring being done by the state government.
The division bench asked the Mahajan that, “when the bench is seized of the matter, you are calling upon magistrates to apply their mind (on applications for withdrawal of cases).” Mahajan said that the power to withdraw the cases is not totally with the state but consent of the trial courts is also necessary. However, he did not object when the court asked to record his statement that the state will not proceed with its applications till the next date of hearing in High Court.
Gupta told the division bench that some cases may contain minor offences but many of the cases recommended for withdrawal were also “serious in nature.”
While citing the report of the Prakash Singh committee on police and administrative failure during the reservation agitation, Gupta submitted that 53 of the 82 cases recommended for withdrawal in Jhajjar, 38 of the 63 cases in Hisar, 21 of the 35 cases in Rohtak, 21 of the 33 cases in Rohtak and some cases in other districts also which have been recommended for withdrawal have been described as serious in nature with accused booked for arson and loot.
Meanwhile, the SIT headed by Police Commissioner Amitabh Singh Dhillon, which is probing the 1,105 cases of Rohtak district, told the court that the complainants or victims were not coming forward with any information regarding the identity of the accused.