The Supreme Court on Monday said it would examine whether the Akhilesh Yadav-led Uttar Pradesh government is withdrawing criminal cases filed against the Yadav community.
“You (state) first go to the court and make the courts take cognisance of the matter. Then you want cases to be withdrawn. This can surely be looked into whether you are invariably withdrawing prosecution against a particular community,” said a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Uday U Lalit.
The state government had moved the top court against an order by the Allahabad High Court on May 7. The High Court had asked the state government to adduce details of all cases in the last two years – after the Samajwadi Party government came to power in the state – where prosecutions were withdrawn from courts in cases with Yadavs as accused.
The High Court had passed this order while hearing a writ petition by one Ram Narain Yadav, who complained that while the state government had withdrawn prosecutions against a large number of people from his community, he was not being accorded the same “favour”.
Challenging this order, the state government told the apex court that the High Court erroneously indicted them of favouring a particular class while hearing a petition which was not even maintainable in law.
The counsel told the bench that the High Court was not justified in casting aspersion on the state government and holding that cases were being withdrawn against a particular community.
“Moreover, when the statute itself provides the procedure for the same, and a catena of judgments to hold that while the state government possesses the power to withdraw criminal prosecution of the case, the High Court ought not to interfere with the executive power of the state government,” said the counsel.
The bench agreed with the state government that it would be a mammoth exercise to dig out all such cases in the last three years but also said that a constitutional court could go into the criteria for withdrawal of prosecutions.
It agreed to examine the matter and stayed the High Court order in the meantime. The bench issued notices to Ram Narain Yadav and others and said it would adjudicate the matter at length.