Kerala

Discharge petition to decide on LDF leaders’ political career

V. Sivankutty MAHINSHA S  

The political career of six prominent LDF leaders including State Minister V. Sivankutty hangs precariously on the outcome of the discharge petition to be considered by the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Court, Thiruvananthapuram, shortly.

The magistrate, while considering the discharge petitions seeking to absolve them from the criminal case booked in connection with the State Assembly ruckus, will ascertain whether there are enough materials on record to frame the charges against them. It was the Supreme Court order upholding the CJM’s decision not to allow withdrawal of prosecution that put the ball back in the CJM court.

While considering the discharge petition, the CJM will examine the materials collected by the investigation officers and also the statements of the witnesses in the case. If a strong case is made out against the accused, the court will frame charges and the accused will have to face the trial.

Once the discharge petition is rejected, the legislators will be tried for the offences of trespass (Section 447 of the Indian Penal Code, which comes with a fine of ₹500 and simple imprisonment up to three years), Causing mischief (Section 427, two years imprisonment with fine or both) and Mischief causing damage to public property (Section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, imprisonment up to five years and a fine amount equal to the value of the damage caused to the public property.)

The legislators can go in for a revision petition to the High Court and the Supreme Court against the decision of the CJM in the discharge petition.

After framing the charges, the court will read out the case made out against the accused. The accused can deny the charges or plead guilty, judicial sources said.

The Supreme Court’s rejection of the State government’s appeal need not cast a shadow on the proceedings of the CJM as the trial court is expected to go into the merit of the case independently. The judicial officer shall apply his mind freely and independently and decide the case on its merit, judicial sources pointed out.

The State-appointed prosecutor will have to appear before the CJM in the discharge petition too.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 7:12:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/discharge-petition-to-decide-on-ldf-leaders-political-career/article35600461.ece

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