Supreme Court Grants Protection From Arrest To AAP Leader Sanjay Singh In ‘Hate Speech’ Cases

first_imgTop StoriesSupreme Court Grants Protection From Arrest To AAP Leader Sanjay Singh In ‘Hate Speech’ Cases Mehal Jain9 Feb 2021 1:55 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Tuesday granted Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh protection from arrest in all FIRs against him (in connection with ‘hate speech’ at his press conference in Lucknow, UP in August last year) and issued notice on why FIRs should not be clubbed. The bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan also observed that the UP state government can approach the Chairman, Rajya…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Tuesday granted Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh protection from arrest in all FIRs against him (in connection with ‘hate speech’ at his press conference in Lucknow, UP in August last year) and issued notice on why FIRs should not be clubbed. The bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan also observed that the UP state government can approach the Chairman, Rajya Sabha for sanction for prosecution under section 196 CrPC, considering that Singh is a Rajya Sabha member. Noting that in view of the issues raised, the matter needs to be decided expeditiously, the bench listed the matter for hearing in the third week of March. In a press conference, on 12.08.2020, Singh had made certain statements regarding which an FIR was lodged with the Police Station Hazratganj, Lucknow, under Sections 153-A, 153-B, 501, 505(1), 505(2) IPC. After investigation, the Investigating Officer filed a charge sheet on 07.09.2020 under the aforesaid sections. Vide order dated 17.09.2020 the State government granted sanction for prosecution of the petitioner under section 196 CrPC. On 04.12.2020, the Additional Sessions Judge, the designated Special Judge MP/MLA Court, Lucknow took cognisance and issued summons to the applicant. The said order was challenged in a petition under Section 482 CrPC before the Allahabad High Court. The bench headed by Justice Bhushan was hearing Singh’s SLP against the Allahabad High Court order of January 21, rejecting the challenge to the said order. As regards the submission that the sanction under Section 196 CrPC should have been granted by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the HC noted that the wording of Section 196 CrPC clearly indicates that the power to grant sanction for prosecution is vested in both the Central Government and the State Government, that the said provision uses the word “or” which means that either one out of the Central Government or the State Government can grant the sanction as the case may be. In a separate writ petition, Singh has moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of multiple FIRs lodged against him in various districts of Uttar Pradesh, saying they have been “maliciously instituted to unleash political vendetta”. Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha, for the petitioner, argued that numerous FIRs ave come to be lodged across the state, all of which are identical. Accordingly, the bench issued notice on why the FIRs should not be clubbed. When the matter had come up for the first time last week, Mr. Tankha had pressed that a non-bailable warrant has been issued against his client by the trial court. However, on that day, the High Court judgment was not on record and hence, the bench had refused to stay the warrant Background As per PTI reports, Singh said he had conducted a press conference at Lucknow of Uttar Pradesh on August 12, last year wherein he had alleged that the state government was favouring one particular caste over the others. In the said press conference, the petitioner had merely raised certain social issues, namely neglect and apathy of the government towards a certain class of society, he said in his writ petition filed through advocate Sumeer Sodhi. The AAP leader said after the press conference, multiple FIRs were registered against him at the instance of the BJP’s members in various police stations in different districts of Uttar Pradesh. Singh said the writ petition has been filed by him for direction to quash the FIRs registered against him, as these FIRs are manifestly attended with malafides and have been maliciously instituted to unleash political vendetta against the petitioner and to harass him. The said FIRs have been filed against the petitioner out of the malice and sheer political vendetta with intent to coerce, harass and intimidate the petitioner as a part of larger ploy to muzzle the opposition leaders, from speaking up against the government of Uttar Pradesh, Singh’s application said. The Rajya Sabha MP further claimed that the content of the said FIRs are verbatim similar and have been filed across several districts across a length of more than 700 kilometres of the state on the same day within a span of a few hours. He said he is aware of eight FIRs filed in eight districts including at Lucknow, Sant Kabir Nagar, Khiri, Bagpat, Muzaffarnagar, Basti and at Aligarh. The petitioner submits that the identical FIRs have been filed across several districts across the entire length of the State of Uttar Pradesh pointing very clearly to the fact that FIRs are only aimed at harassing the petitioner and his political associates, he said. Singh contended that the said FIRs are a threat to the petitioner’s exercise of the right to free speech, right to assemble peacefully; right to move freely throughout the territory of India which are guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. The press conference was an exercise through which the petitioner was raising pertinent social and political issues, and the said FIRs have been filed with the sole intention to stifle the voice of opposition which is fundamental to a functional democracy, he added. He said the FIRs filed against him are “frivolous, baseless, vexatious and are figments of imagination of the complainant and the police department”. It is pertinent to mention that there has not been even a single incident of violence or disharmony as a result of the statements made by the petitioner in the press conference and the said multiple FIRs are in teeth of the settled law enunciated by the top court in various verdicts, where it has been held that there can be no second FIR with respect to same offence. Singh said free and fair elections are a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and any attempt to prevent the opposition from taking part in campaigning or raising pertinent political and social issues is an assault on the basic structure of the Constitution. He alleged that FIRs have been registered against him on the directions of the Officer of Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to the Station in-charge of the several police stations as per the information and genuine belief of the petitioner. The state machinery in complete derogation of their duties and responsibilities conferred upon it by law have been involved in mounting undue pressure upon the petitioner by threatening to take coercive action against the petitioner in order to make him succumb to their unbridled envy, Singh added. He said the sole aim of the state machinery is to prevent the petitioner from campaigning in Uttar Pradesh and from carrying out political activities there in the run up to the elections in 2022. In light of the aforesaid, the petitioner prays that the aforesaid FIRs registered against him be quashed as they are nothing but an abuse of process aimed at stifling the voice of opposition in a democracy and the petitioner’s fundamental rights,” he said. Alternatively, he also sought transfer of the FIRs lodged in connection with the press conference of August 12, 2020 and related political activities of the petitioner outside of Uttar Pradesh. Click Here To Download Order[Read Order]Next Storylast_img read more

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