In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court restricted the power of the government to withdraw criminal cases pending in various courts.The court directed the government not to withdraw criminal cases that have been decided by trial courts and whose appeals are pending in higher courts. A division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Rajendra Prasad Koirala said the withdrawal of such cases would tantamount to misuse of power by the government.The bench was responding to a government request to withdraw a murder case against a group of seven persons including one Biku Mijar, who is currently serving a life term. Mijar was convicted of murder by the Dhanusha District Court, while the Janakpur Appellate Court had upheld the verdict. Mijar’s case reached the SC and the government had filed an appeal in the Appellate Court after the District Court acquitted six others accused in the same case.Following a Cabinet decision on June 21, the government had requested the SC to withdraw the cases against Mijar and the six others. The government has withdrawn around 400 cases against Maoist leaders and cadres, including Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, by exercising a power under Clause 29 of the Government Case Act 1992 after the Maoists joined the peace process.“Cases in which the accused have been convicted in a trial court and whose appeals are pending in higher courts cannot be withdrawn,” the bench observed.“The government can exercise the power to withdraw cases only to serve a larger public interest. If a student leader or a worker of a factory is arrested and a case filed against him/her and if that development invites unrest, the government can exercise such a power,” the text of the judgment read.
Ananta Raj Luitel @ himalayatimes