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Name of the Case

Kavitha Lankesh v. State of Karnataka

Key Takeaways

  • The decision of the Karnataka High Court to drop charges against one of the accused in a murder case was challenged by the petitioners.
  • After rigorous arguments by both the parties, the decision of the HC was found to be faulty.
  • The Court held that the decision was assumptive and not properly interpreted by the HC and put the judgment on reserve.

Background

  • Kavita Lankesh's sister, Gauri Lankesh, was shot and killed in Bengaluru in 2017.
  • Filmmaker Kavita Lankesh filed an appeal against a Karnataka High Court decision that dropped charges against accused Mohan Nayak in the Gauri Lankesh murder case under the Karnataka Control of Organized Crimes Act (KCOCA).
  • After hearing both parties' lengthy submissions, the Court put the orders on hold.

Contentions of the Prosecution

  • The question before the Court concerned the approval provided under Section 24(1) to use the provisions of the KCOCA Act, as well as the cognizance taken and chargesheet filed.
  • The High Court held that the Act was not applicable in the case of the accused, although the Court was mistaken in concluding that KCOCA was not applicable at all.
  • All of the activities referred to in the ultimate chargesheet or FIR should be done as a member of an organised crime syndicate or on behalf of the syndicate, according to the role ascribed to the accused Amol Kale.
  • The HC erred by failing to examine the scheme of Section 24 KCOCA, which provides that no person below the rank of Additional Director General of Police should grant prior consent.
  • The High Court overlooked the fact that the sanction order issued under Section 24(2) KCOCA was not challenged or contested, and only the order issued under Section 21(1) (a).

Court’s Observation

  • The Court was leaning toward overturning the last section of the High Court's challenged order quashing the extra charge sheet filed against the accused in respect to a KCOCA offence.
  • The first portion of the order overturned the Police Commissioner's directive authorizing the use of Section 3 of the KCOCA.
  • “Nothing stops investigating agencies from determining whether you are a part of the syndicate and presenting a chargesheet after gathering evidence.”
  • The charge sheet was quashed by the High Court because it was erroneous and out of the jurisdiction.
  • “It's a significant order to be given, quashing the chargesheet without even looking at it.”
  • “The High Court's decision on the quashing of the chargesheet can be described as an assumptive one because it comes right after the permission part.”

Do you think the decision of the High Court was assumptive? Do you agree that the chargesheet was erroneous? Tell us in the comments section below!

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