Lodha gets benefit of state circular
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A state government circular saved leading builder and BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha and five others prosecution for an agitation 12 years ago.
The July 7, 2010, circular recommended withdrawal of cases related to political and social agitations registered before May 1, 2005, if the damage to property was not more than Rs 5 lakh and there was no life loss. It said a committee be appointed to assess the damage and seek consent of the accused to pay damages before withdrawal of such cases was considered.
Bombay High Court (HC) recently upheld a Lodha plea to quash a complaint filed against him under IPC sections pertaining to unlawful assembly, causing hurt and criminal intimidation.
The complaint was filed on September 24, 2000, after Lodha and 100 BJP workers allegedly gathered outside a municipal bypoll booth at Mangal Kunj building on Cumballa Hill and shouted slogans seeking action against Gunwant Seth of Congress for alleged illegal entry and pushing a worker of his party.
Lodha pointed out that a letter written by the directorate of public prosecution on October 28, 2005, said they had no objection to withdrawal of four cases, including the one against him. He said while the government dropped two of the cases, the one against him was not withdrawn.
"I quite see, there is no justification on the part of the state not to act in terms of provisions of section 321 of CrPC to withdraw the prosecution subject of present case. The discriminatory treatment certainly calls for condemnation," Justice K U Chandiwal wrote in his order.
HC quashed the complaint against Lodha, saying the case clearly fell within the ambit of the circular of 2010.
The July 7, 2010, circular recommends withdrawal of cases related to political and social agitations registered before May 1, 2005, if the damage to property is not more than Rs 5 lakh and there is no life loss
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