Tamil Nadu Govt Withdraws 5,570 Cases Against Journalists, Protestors

The Madras high court’s public prosecutor’s opinion was considered while issuing the order.

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New Delhi: The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday issued an order withdrawing 5,570 cases filed against journalists, media personnel and protestors between 2011 and 2021, LiveLaw reported.

Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin had announced that these cases would be withdrawn while addressing the state assembly on June 24 this year, the Deccan Herald reported.

The 5,570 cases withdrawn by Government Order (GO) 368 included several cases filed against media personnel by the former AIADMK government.

The remaining cases are against people who demonstrated against the 2020 agricultural laws, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the construction of the eight-lane Chennai-Salem expressway, the methane project, the neutrino observatory project and the Koodankulam nuclear power plant project.

The number of cases relating to each issue is as follows:

  • Farm bills protestors: 2,831
  • CAA protestors: 2,282
  • Methane, neutrino, and expressway projects protestors: 405
  • Koodankulam nuclear power plant protestors: 26
  • Media personnel: 26

S.K. Prabhakar, home secretary of the Tamil Nadu government, is the undersigned of the GO.

The Madras high court’s public prosecutor’s opinion was considered while issuing the order. The police will drop cases where investigation is ongoing or where chargesheets have not been filed.

For cases pending trial, the assistant public prosecutor dealing with the respective cases shall be directed to move an application under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Section 321 (withdrawal from prosecution).

Of the 5,570 cases, 4,460 are under investigation and 1,110 are awaiting trial.

The GO also made reference to the Supreme Court’s interim order, issued on August 10, 2021, which laid down that no prosecution against a sitting or former Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) shall be withdrawn without the leave of the high court.

Thus, the director-general of police was directed to collect the details of cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs and send them to the government so that it could take up the matter before the Madras high court.