Mumbai police withdraw cases against CAA, JNU violence protestors

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In a major development, Mumbai police earlier this month withdrew a case against some people who protested against the attack on students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, and also against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). At least 36 people, including activists and lawyers, who were part of these protests were relieved after this move.

What exactly happened?

On January 12, the Mumbai Police applied and sought to withdraw the legal suit in question. According to media reports, the application argued that the 36 accused took part in the protest without any personal gain or interest. The application cited a Government Resolution (GR) of the state Home Department dated September 20, 2022.

The case was moved by Mumbai Police’s prosecutor under Section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which gives the prosecutor power to withdraw the case with the consent of the court.

Court’s response to Mumbai police

The court allowed the application to withdraw the case and noted that the police concluded that since there has been no loss of life or public property and due to the alleged act being social and political, the prosecution did not want to proceed with the matter.

What was the case filed against the 36 accused?

On January 5, 2020, a group of protestors gathered at Mumbai’s Gateway of India and held a candle march against the violence that took place in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and CAA, which saw massive outrage across the nation. The protest was peaceful, and the citizens registered their agitation against the violence and the CAA among other issues.

The next day, a larger crowd, as per police estimate of at least 1000 individuals, marched from Hutatma Chowk to the Gateway of India. The Colaba police filed FIRs against a number of the protesters.

The charges filed against the 36 individuals in the FIR include Section 143 (member of an unlawful assembly), Section 149 (every member of an unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, that prohibits assemblies and processions.

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