The Allahabad High Court has dismissed two writ petitions that sought directions to the Uttar Pradesh government against its move to withdraw cases against various accused in the 2006 Varanasi bomb blasts and 2008 Rampur CRPF camp attack.
A division bench, comprising Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Dilip Gupta, on Wednesday, held that the pleas were “immature” under the State government's submission that “no application has been filed yet” for withdrawal of the cases.
“Withdrawal is always subject to the consent of the court where a case is pending,” the court said. “We think no interference is required at this stage though it goes without saying that the court concerned shall have to exercise caution if any application for withdrawal of cases is filed.”
The PILs, filed by Rakesh Srivastav and Nityanand Chaubey of Varanasi, had challenged the State government's announced move to withdraw cases against the accused in the Rampur CRPF camp attack and the Varanasi blasts.
The petitions had alleged that the State government had initiated the process for withdrawal of cases after it became public that it had sought reports from authorities in the districts and the law department over the possibility of withdrawing cases.
In its election manifesto, the Samajwadi Party had promised to release all innocent youths lodged in jail on terror charges, adding that the officials who implicated them would also be punished.
However, the State government has been caught between poll promise and law, especially after the Allahabad High Court recently refuted its announcement.
Moreover, the Samajwadi party's stance on the issue has been far from consistent. While asserting that the State should not free “terrorists”, State Public Works Department Minister Shivpal Yadav, in November, said “there is no question of freeing terrorists or withdrawing cases against them.”
On the contrary, SP Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav was part of the multi-party delegation of MPs, which met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 3, and called for the release and rehabilitation of the innocent youth implicated in terror cases.
It was also one of the issues over which the Samajwadi Party had stalled the Question hour in Rajya Sabha the following day.
The party's stance has faced severe criticism from the Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janta Party and also from social activists.
The government is also under the scanner not making public the findings of the R.D. Nimesh Commission, which submitted its report in August.
The commission was constituted by the Bahujan Samaj Party government in 2008 to probe arrests of Haqeem Tariq of Azamgarh and Khalid Mujahid of Jaunpur in serial court blast cases after much outcry over the role of the ATS.
The report was to be submitted within six months.
While the report is yet to be made public, information leaked to the media suggests that it has described the arrests as suspicious and called for possible criminal proceedings against the concerned security forces.
Mohammed Shoaib, convenor of the forum for release of innocent youths, told The Hindu that since the State government's move to release the accused had no legal base it should instead work to expedite the trials.