Evidence tampering case: Kerala HC stays all proceedings against minister Antony Raju for one-month
"It's seen from the records that the proceedings as per law have not complied in this case. And therefore I find a prima facie case, in favour of the petitioner," Justice Ziyad Rahman said.
KOCHI: In a major breather for the LDF government, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday stayed all further proceedings in the evidence tampering case pending against Transport Minister Antony Raju for one month before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram.
Justice Ziyad Rahman held that, "It's seen from the records that the proceedings as per law have not complied in this case. And therefore I find a prima facie case, in favour of the petitioner. Hence, it's ordered that there shall be an interim order staying all further proceedings in the case for one month."
The court also admitted the petition and issued notice to the state government and the retired sheristadar of the sessions court, Thiruvananthapuram. When the case came up for hearing, the court said that there was no procedure followed under Section 344 (summary procedure for trial for giving false evidence) of CrPC.
Senior advocate P Vijayabhanu and advocate Deepu Thankan, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the continuation of the proceedings before the trial court is a clear abuse of the process as no court should take cognizance of the offence under Section 193 of the IPC except upon a complaint filed by the court. However, the court below took cognisance of the offence based upon the final report filed by the police.
He pointed out that while acquitting the accused Andrew Salvator, an Austrian national in a narcotic smuggling case, the high court had suggested an inquiry in respect of the tampering with the evidence. The Vigilance wing of the high court had initially conducted an investigation and, thereafter, the administrative side of the high court directed the Thiruvananthapuram District Judge to direct the sheristadar of the district court to furnish a first information statement to the police. Consequently, an FIR was registered on October 5, 1994.
The trial ought not to have taken cognisance of the offence under Section 193 (fabrication of evidence) of the IPC unless the complaint was filed by a court in writing.
The counsel contended that even though the major offence involved is under Section 193 of IPC, the mandatory procedures required to be complied with under Section 195 of CrPC have not been complied with.
As per Section 195, the offences under Section 193 of IPC and conspiracy to commit the same can only be prosecuted based on a complaint submitted by the court concerned or the officer authorised by the court. "It's seen from the records those proceedings have not complied with," observed the court.