The Certificate of Ownership issued to actor Mohanlal for the two pairs of elephant tusks and 13 ivory artefacts found in his possession was illegal and invalid and hence cannot be treated as a ground for permitting withdrawal of prosecution against him, argued two public interest litigants.
The litigants, A.A. Poulose and James Mathew, raised the contention before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court 3, Perumbavoor, on Tuesday while opposing the plea of the Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) to withdraw prosecution proceedings against the actor.
The Kerala High Court had last week permitted the duo to intervene in the case as third party interveners to oppose the petition to withdraw the prosecution. Incidentally, the APP had earlier moved the withdrawal petition stating that the conduct of the case would be a futile exercise and wastage of precious time of the court.
Abraham Meachinkara, counsel for the third party interveners, argued that the Forest department had not charged any case regarding the ivory artefacts.
The actor, the first accused, has no legal right to initiate a proceeding to withdraw the case booked against him. The unholy nexus between the first accused and the State government was evident from their conduct in the case, he argued.
The APP, who did not apply his mind in filing the withdrawal petition, advanced the petition on behalf of the first accused. The APP and the actor together had also suppressed material facts before the court, he argued.
He contended that the process of withdrawal of prosecution was initiated by the Home department by keeping the Forest department, which initiated the prosecution, in the dark. Though a large number of wildlife cases of trivial nature were pending in various courts for prosecution, the State had not come up with any proposal for withdrawal of those cases. In the actor’s case, the application for withdrawal of prosecution was made for extraneous considerations rather than advancing the cause of justice, he contended.
The APP had earlier defended the proposal for withdrawing the prosecution.
The High Court has directed the magistrate court to complete the trial in three weeks.