The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed actor Mohanlal’s plea against a trial court order rejecting the state government’s move to withdraw prosecution proceedings against him in a case related to illegal possession of ivory tusks.
Justice A Badharudeen was of the view that an accused in a case “have no right to challenge an order refusing withdrawal of prosecution” since the said procedure is the prerogative of the prosecution.
The court, however, also set aside the trial court order and directed it to consider afresh the state government’s plea to withdraw prosecution in the case.
“…the prayer for withdrawal of prosecution of the present case sought for by the government requires reconsideration by the trial court,” the high court said.
It directed the parties to appear before the trial court on March 3.
“There shall be a direction to the trial court to hear and pass fresh orders as expeditiously as possible from the date of receipt of copy of this order, at any rate within a period of six months,” the high court said.
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The state government had sought withdrawal of the prosecution contending that it would be a futile exercise and wastage of the court’s time.
The magisterial court, in its June 2022 order, indicated that it was not inclined to grant the prayer as the withdrawal petition was filed in a hasty manner without addressing the challenges raised before the High Court regarding legality of the ownership certificate issued to Mohanlal.
The state government had on February 7, 2020 extended consent for withdrawal from prosecution in this case.
The trial court, in its order, had noted that there was no gazette notification in this case and hence the alleged certificate of ownership of the tusks has no legal sanctity and was void ab initio.
Four elephant tusks were seized from the actor’s house in a raid conducted by the Income Tax authorities in June 2012, following which a case was registered against him.
The complainant had alleged that the top actor had used his clout to bury the case without any further investigation.