Plea to recall HC order discharging Kurien

Justice P. Bhavadasan of the Kerala High Court, on Thursday, observed that the victim in the Suryanelli case should have been heard when a petition filed by the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, P.J. Kurien, seeking to discharge him from the case was taken up for hearing.

The judge, while referring to a Division Bench her petition seeking to recall the High Court verdict discharging Mr. Kurien from the case, said it was undisputable that the order of discharge had “worked to her prejudice.” It could not be said that she had “no interest in the matter.”

By ordering the discharge, the proceedings initiated by the complainant by way of a private complaint “got aborted.” She was entitled to be made a party in the proceedings and she was entitled to be heard.

The court said the attitude displayed by the State in 2006 when Mr. Kurien’s petition came up “appears to be disappointing.” The State seemed to have preferred only a formal objection to the plea, thereby indicating that it had no serious objection to granting the relief to the petitioner. It was true that the State government took up the matter before the apex court. But if the aggrieved persons felt that an appeal by the State government was only a formality, they could not be found fault with.

The occasion for the petitioner to file a private complaint was the decision of the investigation agency to drop the name of Mr. Kurien in 2006 from the list of accused. Therefore, to a certain extent, there was a conflict of interest between the complainant and the State government.

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.

The Director General of Prosecution contended that in a revision jurisdiction, it was not incumbent upon the court to hear anybody as it exercised supervisory jurisdiction.

In her petition, the victim said the order passed by the court was in gross violation of the principles of natural justice as the complainant in the case had not been heard. She should have been made a party in the case and her version heard. The petition sought to review the High Court verdict passed in 2006.

The State government argued that Mr. Kurien was discharged by the High Court for want of proper evidence. It had been six years and seven months since the verdict was passed discharging him. Therefore, there was no need to review the judgment now.

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