Single Bench quashes FIR against VS, but Division Bench stays the order

The Kerala High Court witnessed dramatic developments on Thursday with a Single Bench removing Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan’s name from the list of accused in the ‘land assignment case’ and a Division Bench almost immediately staying that verdict.

As soon as Justice S.S. Satheesachandran quashed the criminal proceedings against Mr. Achuthanandan in the morning, the Advocate-General’s Office swung into damage control mode and obtained a stay against the verdict from the Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A.M. Shaffique. However, the Division Bench made it clear that no final report shall be filed until further orders.

Justice Satheesachandran held that the imputations in the FIR against Mr. Achuthanandan did not only not make out any offence but gave enough room for sustaining his allegation that he was proceeded against with a view to maligning him.

When the appeal against the Single Bench’s judgment came up for hearing, T.B Hood, counsel for the Leader of the Opposition, took exception to the appeal being entertained as it was filed without attaching a certified copy of the judgment as mandated by the rules or a translation of the Malayalam documents. Had a commoner filed such an appeal, it would not even have been numbered, he said, and made a strong plea to the Division Bench to restrain the Vigilance from filing a final report in the case.