UP can't withdraw terror cases without Centre’s consent: HC

The Uttar Pradesh government cannot withdraw terror cases without the permission of the Centre, the Allahabad High Court held on Thursday .

A three-judge Lucknow bench of justices Devi Prasad Singh, Ajai Lamba and Ashok Pal Singh passed the directive on questions raised by a two-judge division bench on a PIL filed by Ranjana Agnihotri and five other local lawyers.

The PIL had sought a direction for quashing the order of the UP government for withdrawal of cases against people accused of terrorist activities and serial blasts.

The court ruled that the state government needs Centre's permission to withdraw cases registered under such acts where executive power of the Union extends.

"For offences under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Substances Act and Arms Act and the offences falling in Chapter VI of IPC or alike offences the executive power of the Union of India extends, hence the permission of the central government with regard to withdrawal of prosecution shall be necessary," it held.

The court said if an application is moved for withdrawal from "prosecution in a case relating to terrorism and waging of war against the country", specific and special reason has to be assigned. Also there has to be a request from the public prosecutor for withdrawing the case, it added.

On June 7, while staying the state government's order to withdraw cases against people accused of terror activities, a division bench of justices Rajeev Sharma and Mahendra Dayal had referred the matter to a larger bench.

The two-judge bench had referred four questions to the larger bench: whether the state government could issue an order for withdrawal of cases without there being any request from the public prosecutor and whether prosecution can withdraw cases without assigning any reason; whether the prosecution of offence relating to central act can be withdrawn without taking permission from the central government; and whether the state government, after giving sanction for prosecution, review its own order by issuing orders for withdrawal of the cases.

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