The Kerala High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings registered against the State Transport Minister Antony Raju for allegedly tampering with evidence in a case.

The bench of Justice Ziyad Rahman AA quashed the proceedings on technical grounds.

The prosecution case is that while frisking at the Thiruvananthapuram Airport, an Australian National was found in possession of charas, which was kept concealed in the pocket of his underwear. The articles seized, including the underwear of the accused therein, were produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate's Court II, Thiruvananthapuram.

The seized articles were entrusted in the custody of a clerk. Antony Raju who was a lawyer practicing in Thiruvananthapuram had appeared for the accused-Australian National.

The Australian Citizen was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment however he came to be acquitted after it was found that the underwear presented as evidence was too small for him.

It was alleged that the clerk and Antony Raju had conspired together with the intention to secure the acquittal of the accused-Australian National and allegedly tampered with the evidence.

Following this, a case was registered against the clerk Jose and Advocate Antony Raju.

They approached the High Court seeking quashing of proceedings registered against them.

Senior Advocate P.Vijaya Bhanu appeared for the petitioners whereas, Advocate B.G.Harindranath appeared for the defacto complainant and Vipin Narayan, Public Prosecutor, appeared for the State.

The Court held that cognizance taken on the police report is not legally sustainable as it was in violation of the statutory stipulation in Section 195(1)(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

However, the Court clarified that “…this would not preclude the competent authority or the court concerned from taking up the matter and pursuing the prosecution in compliance with the procedure contemplated under section 195(1)(b) of the Cr.P.C.”

“Though, this court interfered in the proceedings for technical reasons, it cannot be ignored that the allegations raised are serious in nature. The materials placed before this Court reveal allegations which are of such nature and gravity that interfere with the judicial functions and thereby polluting the mechanism of administration of justice.”, the Court observed.

The Court directed the registry to take appropriate action under the relevant provisions of the Cr.PC, without any delay by taking note of the fact that the offences were allegedly committed in the year 1990, and that any further delay in the matter would defeat the entire purpose.

Cause Title- Antony Raju & Nar. v. State of Kerala & Anr.

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