While refusing to direct the authorities to investigate a crime in the guise of entertaining a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, the Madras High Court on Wednesday said investigation of cases against protesters of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) should be completed expeditiously in a manner known to law.

A Division Bench comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and M. Duraiswamy said this while treating as closed two PILs which sought a direction to the authorities to take appropriate action in a case and prevent S.P. Udayakumar and his group from conducting an indefinite fast in front of the power plant. The petitions also said the police should be directed to investigate the cases registered in the police stations concerned. The Judges said they were of the view that such petitions could not be entertained in the name of PIL, especially when the government’s stand was that certain FIRs had been against various individuals including Mr. Udayakumar and investigation was on. In the counter, the government had said that two cases had been registered by the Kudankulam police station and investigation had been taken up. “While this is the categorical stand of the government, we are of the view that we cannot, in the guise of entertaining a public interest litigation, direct the government to proceed to investigate about a crime as one likes or dislikes. The investigation has to be done by the police and it is the prerogative of the police. Of course, the same has to be done in accordance with law. However, it is needless to state that it is the duty of the State Government, including the police, to maintain law and order.”

Messrs Justices Jyothimani and Duraiswamy said the complaint given against certain persons should be investigated and it was only on that basis to maintain public peace and tranquillity taking note of the circumstances and with a predominant interest to maintain public peace, they had directed the probe to be completed expeditiously. The Bench made it clear that it had not expressed any opinion as to the manner in which investigation should be completed. The police are to conduct investigation.