After much correspondence between the Maharashtra government and the police on withdrawal of cases against those booked for violence during a statewide shutdown in January following clashes in Koregaon Bhima and the Maratha agitation in July and August 2, the state home department has directed the police to constitute a three-member committee headed by the state ADGP (Law and Order) to review which cases can be dropped.
The order stated that the committee should review all the cases by calling for reports lodged all the district headquarters and commissionerates. It added that those cases where no loss of life has been reported and where losses to public or private persons wasn’t more than Rs 10 lakh should be withdrawn.
However, cases of attack against policemen shouldn’t be withdrawn.
The order also stated that in cases where losses are over Rs 10 lakh, the committee needs to investigate such cases and if it is of the view that the cases should be withdrawn, then a written undertaking by the accused to foot the damages on pro-rata basis should be taken by the committee and submitted to the government.
Amitabh Gupta, Principal Secretary (Security), home department, said: “An order to form a committee and make recommendations on withdrawing of cases during the two agitations has been issued on Saturday. The committee headed by the ADGP (Law and Order) will submit its report and the same would be presented before the Cabinet sub-committee for the final decision.”
Under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the government is empowered to withdraw such cases.
When contacted, a home department official said that they had studied the report that has recommended the withdrawal of cases which cannot be tried in sessions court and attracted a punishment of less than seven years.
“Now, after the official order has been passed, the committee will look into the two protests and once we receive a report on the cases that could be dropped, the government will act accordingly,” the official added.