Judge says complaint cannot be withdrawn

The case against Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor for disrespecting the national anthem took a new turn here on Wednesday.

Petitioner Joy Kaitharath had submitted a petition last week seeking to withdraw his complaint. Hearing the petition on Wednesday, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate M. Manoj held orally that the complaint could not be withdrawn as the witnesses had been examined and the case was set for framing charges.

Mr. Kaitharath had first submitted a complaint saying that Mr. Tharoor had disrespected the national anthem at a function in Kochi on December 16, 2008. The allegation was that Mr. Tharoor had asked the audience at the meeting to sing the anthem while placing the right hand on the left side of the chest as Americans do, instead of standing to attention.

On March 22, Mr. Kaitharath sought to withdraw his complaint saying Mr. Tharoor had tendered an unconditional apology for the incident.

The case will now be heard on April 10.

Meanwhile, activist Jomon Puthenpurackal filed a petition before the court asking to be included as a complainant in the case against Mr. Tharoor. He said in his petition that none of the reasons stated by Mr. Kaitharath to withdraw the case were legally tenable.

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