HC stays proceedings against Murugha seer in Chitradurga court

Taking serious exception to the order of the issuing Non-bailable Warrant for the arrest of Shivamurthy Sharana, the pontiff of the Murugha Mutt, contrary to its orders, the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday stayed all the proceedings against him pending before the II Additional District Judge, Chitradurga.

Justice M Nagaprasanna also directed an inquiry against the Special Public Prosecutor who is handling the State’s case in the lower court.

On Monday, the trial court in the district headquarters town of Chitradurga had issued the NBW, following which the seer was arrested hours later and sent to 14 days’ judicial custody.

The same evening, the HC stayed the NBW and ordered the Seer’s release, after his counsel moved it, pointing out that the NBW was issued in the second Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act case, while the HC had released him on bail in the first POCSO case. And, while granting bail in the first POCSO case he was ordered to attend any trial through video conferencing, and not to enter the district of Chitradurga.

The NBW was issued after the Special Public Prosecutor in the case filed a memo before the trial court stating that there was no permission for the seer to attend the court in the second POCSO case through video conferencing.

At the same time, the petition challenging the second POCSO case was also before the High Court bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna which had reserved its judgement on the petition.

While reserving the judgement, the bench had also directed the Trial Court to defer the hearing of the case till it pronounced its judgement. Despite this direction, the trial court had heard the case and issued the NBW paving way for the seer’s arrest.

On Tuesday, the counsel for the seer submitted before the bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna that the trial court had behaved in a prejudiced manner and therefore the trial should be moved to another court.

The counsel submitted that even after the HC granted bail to the seer, the trial court did not order for his immediate release and he was made to spend three more days in custody due to the delay.

The HC said that the trial court had committed errors and it does not matter who the accused is but not adhering to the HC’s directions cannot be accepted. The court said that the District Judge had shown ignorance regarding the orders of the HC.

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