In a major relief for Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, the High Court on Tuesday quashed the FIR filed against him in connection with the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam, holding that he enjoyed immunity while in office.
“While dealing with the primary question of extent of immunity and privilege extended to the Head of a State, during his term of office, which answers the jurisdictional fact, we proceed to quash the impugned FIR against the petitioner [Governor] on that count alone, with liberty to police to proceed in accordance with law after the petitioner ceases to be the Governor,” a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Rohit Arya, observed.
Earlier on April 18, the High Court had in an interim order stayed the FIR filed on February 24 against the Governor by the Special Task Force (STF) in connection with the recruitment scam, asking the prosecuting agency not to take any “coercive action” against him.
Task force allegation The STF had filed the FIR against 88-year-old Mr. Yadav, possibly the first against any Governor of Madhya Pradesh, alleging his complicity in the forest guard recruitment scam. Thereafter, Mr. Yadav had petitioned the High Court. “For, the immunity and privilege is only during the term of office. At the same time the immunity and privilege extended to the Governor will not impair or whittle down the powers of the police to investigate the criminal case registered against other accused who cannot claim such privilege and in the process, record statement of the petitioner, if required,” the judges said.