The Tripura High Court on Wednesday ‘discharged’ former MLA Billal Miah, who was convicted for ‘defaming’ former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Agartala: The Tripura High Court has ‘discharged’ former MLA Billal Miah, who was convicted for ‘defaming’ former chief minister Manik Sarkar. The court did not find a valid sanction order that could lead to the prosecution of the accused.

Miah had accused Sarkar of corruption and purchasing a luxurious flat at Salt Lake area in West Bengal, and was subsequently convicted by the Sessions’ Court and was sentenced to two days’ simple imprisonment.

In an appeal in the High Court, the Senior Counsel who appeared for the ex-MLA, argued on the absence of a valid sanction order necessary for prosecuting the then MLA, which was issued in contrast to the provisions of Article 166 of the Indian Constitution.

Justice S Talapatra, who was the hearing the case, noted, “It is an undisputed fact that the sanction order in question has not been issued in the name of the governor nor has been shown to have issued by the order of the governor.”

The judgement also said, “In absence of any express authorisation, the sanction order issued by the Legal Remembrancer & the Secretary Law Department cannot be held valid in as much as the constitutional provision as embodied in Articles 77 (3) and 166 (3) of the Constitution requires satisfaction of the Governor. Unless by the Rules of Executive business or the rules made by the Governor, the allocation in the form of authorization is made expressly providing the authority to issue sanction order, no other person except the Governor can consider the materials based on which the sanction is sought and decide the issue of granting the sanction appropriately.”

Even though the court discharged Miah, it also mentioned that it ‘found’ that the charge as framed against him has been established to the hilt and in the hearing no challenge has been taken up against the finding of conviction returned on appreciation of the evidence. The court also added that the conduct of the accused was culpable and depraved and not a single piece of evidence could be placed by him in his defence.

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