The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday quashed the trial court proceedings pending against CPI (M) Central Committee Member U. Vasuki and 25 other party members. In 2016, during the campaign for the State legislative Assembly elections they had staged a road blockade in Jaihindpuram in Madurai alleging police inaction over distribution of cash for votes.
The case of the prosecution was that on May 13, 2016, around 250 CPI (M) party members had staged a protest in Jaihindpuram in Madurai. They had raised slogans against the police at around 8 p.m. in violation of election code and prohibitory order. The petitioners said that they had only raised the slogans and there was no violence. They said that the continuance of the case against them was harassment and sought the quash of the proceedings.
Justice G. R. Swaminathan took note of the fact that the petitioners had blocked the Jaihindpuram road, they raised slogans against the police during the 2016 election campaign and there was no damage to property. The court said that the assembly of the petitioners was a legitimate exercise of their democratic right and it cannot be said to be an unlawful assembly.
They had staged a protest against the distribution of cash by the political rivals. Rampant use of cash for votes was an electoral reality, the court said. The court observed that the life of the 2016 election itself was over and the 2021 election was also held. The court held that the continuance of the proceedings against the petitioners was not warranted and quashed the trial court proceedings pending against them before the Judicial Magistrate IV, Madurai.
In 2016, CPI (M) Senior leader Vasuki who was contesting from the Madurai West constituency staged a protest along with 250 party members. The party members said that they had caught a few people of the AIADMK party who had indulged in distribution of cash for votes. The police had arrived at the spot. But, later the police let off the people who had indulged in the distribution of cash for votes, the petitioners said.
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