The Bombay high court has quashed an FIR filed against six advocates in 1999 for holding a procession against the arrest of a colleague, agreeing that the protest was held in the heat of the moment.
A division bench of judges BR Gavai and CV Bhadang of the Nagpur bench quashed the FIR lodged against the advocates, Mukul Agasti, 64, Vandan Gadkari, 49, Ravindra Bhoyar, 49, Aniruddh Chaube, 50, Ashok Bhutda, 55, and Arun Agarwal, 44.
The advocates had approached the high court through advocate Anil Mardikar, after the magistrate's court and the sessions court refused to discharge them from the case.
Additional public prosecutor MK Pathan did not oppose the petition.
After going through old records, the judges noted that the procession was carried out in the heat of the moment. Also, the government did not seem interested in prosecuting them and hence there was no point in keeping the issue alive, they said.
"The perusal of the records would reveal that the matter pertains to 1999 and was on account of the heat generated on the spur of the moment on account of the arrest of a lawyer. The record would also reveal that the state is not interested in prosecuting the case, inasmuch as it is found that it is based on stale allegations," the court observed.
While quashing the FIR, the judges observed: "In that view of the matter, we find that no purpose would be served by keeping such stale proceedings pending."