No more trial in land grab cases: High Court

Passing further orders on a writ petition challenging the constitution of Special Courts to try “land grabbing cases” in the State, the Madras High Court on Monday said that status quo as on date should be maintained in respect of filing of charge sheets before the courts, pending disposal of the writ petition.

The order would effectively mean that no more charge sheets can be filed until the writ petition is disposed of.

The court also said that wherever charge sheet had been filed, trial should not go on.

A specially-constituted Bench consisting of Justices K.N. Basha and N. Paul Vasanthakumar, passed the order on a writ petition by P. Ganesan, an advocate of Anna Nagar here.

The Bench was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the formation of anti-land grabbing cells. The petition by Mr. Ganesan against the constitution of special courts is also before the Bench.

He sought to declare a G.O. of August 2011 for constituting 25 special courts as ultra vires and violative of the Constitution. He said the reasons for forming the courts had not been given in the G.O.

The procedure contemplated special treatment to the accused.

The State government could not pick out a set of cases, call them “land grabbing cases” and try them by establishing special courts by giving differential treatment which prejudiced trial.

On July 30 last year, the court had ordered that status quo be maintained in respect of filing of charge sheets before the two special courts constituted then at Coimbatore and Tirupur, pending disposal of a writ petition.

When the matter came up, P. Wilson, petitioner’s counsel, filed a fresh memo stating that subsequent to the court order of July 30, more special courts had been inaugurated at Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram, Theni and Villupuram. There was a proposal to open similar courts in other districts.

In view of the same, the Bench said, it was inclined to pass an order in the light of the earlier order.

Status quo should be maintained in respect of filing of charge sheets before the special courts, pending disposal of the petition. It also directed the High Court registry to circulate the order to the special courts.

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