Kochi: In a huge hit to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Ministers Ramalinga Reddy, MB Patil and All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, the Karnataka High Court today refused to quash the non bailable arrest warrants issued against them.
The Court was considering a plea by the CM and ministers (the petitioners) to quash the non-bailable arrest warrants and special court proceedings issued by the 42nd ACMM Court in connection with an incident that occurred near Race View Hotel on April 14, 2022.
Justice Krishna Dixit of the High Court, while imposing a fine of ₹10,000 each on all four persons, highlighted that in the eyes of law, both a postman and the Prime Minister are subject to criminal law provisions.
"Prime Minister, Postman, in criminal law, stand on similar footing," the Court observed in the judgment. In effect, the court rejected the petitioners' request to stay on the judgment to enable them to file an appeal.
“I have considered all contentions raised by the parties. Reference is made to one American court judgment and three 3 judgments of the Apex court and considered section 155 (3). Accordingly, all the petitions are dismissed. I have fixed a specific date for each of the petitioners to remain present before the court below. There should not be galata; they should go and seek orders from the trial judge”, the High Court judge said while dismissing the pleas.
The court has asked CM Siddaramaiah to be present before the special court on March 6 and the other ministers on subsequent dates.
The Congress leaders had all staged a demonstration inside the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, demanding Eshwarappa's immediate arrest after the former minister was linked to the contractor, Santhosh Patil's death. They had allegedly also marched illegally towards former CM Basavaraj Bommai's official residence, seeking Eshwarappa's resignation from his post.
The protest allegedly led to the obstruction of public traffic and endangered law and order in the area, prompting legal action by the police.