Victim’s plea seeking recall of HC verdict discharging Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien

A Division Bench comprising Justice K.T. Sankaran and Justice M.L. Joseph Francis on Tuesday recused itself from hearing a petition filed by the victim in the Suryanelli case seeking to recall a High Court verdict discharging Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien from the case. The petition was referred to the Bench by Justice P. Bhavadasan.

New bench to hear

The petition will now be heard by another Division Bench. The Bench headed by Justice K.T. Sankaran is already hearing the appeals filed by the accused against a special court verdict sentencing them to various terms of imprisonment.

The single judge, while referring the petition to a Division Bench, had observed that the order of discharge had “worked to her prejudice”. She should have been heard before passing the order, the single judge had observed. It was significant to note that by ordering the discharge of Mr. Kurien, the proceedings initiated by the complainant by way of a private complaint “got aborted.” She was entitled to be made a party to the proceedings and heard, the single judge had observed

The court observed that the attitude shown by the State in 2006 when Mr. Kurien’s petition for discharging him from the case came up “appears to be disappointing.”

The State seemed to have preferred only a formal objection to the plea of discharge, thereby indicating that it had no serious objection to granting the relief to Mr. Kurien. It was true that the State government took up the matter before the apex court. The single judge observed that the rights of the complainant were affected by the order of discharge.

Therefore, the court felt that the issue involved in the petition was of considerable relevance and importance, and needed to be resolved by a Division Bench.

In her petition, the victim pointed out that the order passed by the court was against the principles of natural justice as the complainant in the case had not been heard. She should have been made a party to the case and her version heard.

Review HC verdict

The petition sought to review the High Court verdict passed in 2006.

The State government argued that it had been six years and seven months since the verdict discharging Mr. Kurien was passed. Therefore, there was no need to review its order now.

More In: Kerala | National | Kochi