Uttar Pradesh: A bill allowing the withdrawal of cases, including against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, got the assent of state’s governor Ram Naik on Monday. The law seeks allows the withdrawal of around 20,000 “politically-motivated” cases that were filed across the state over protest demonstrations. One such case was also filed against the Adityanath and others. Here are five things you need to know about the bill and the cases:
- The case against CM Adityanath and a dozen others was filed for holding a meeting in alleged violation of prohibitory orders over 22 years ago. While Yogi Adityanath, who also holds the home portfolio in UP, was named in the case, Union Minister Shiv Pratap Shukla, BJP MLA Sheetal Pandey, and 10 others were respondents in the case that was filed at Gorakhpur’s Pipiganj police station on May 27, 1995. Gorakhpur has been Adityanath’s home turf. He represented the constituency in Lok Sabha for five terms before being appointed as the chief minister earlier this year. The case was filed because Adityanath, who was then the Gorakhpur MP, had allegedly made a hate speech following the killing of a Hindu youth in a clash between two groups during a Moharram procession. Adityanath was arrested and he had to spend 10 days in jail before being allowed to go out on bail.
- On Monday, Governor Naik gave his assent to eight bills, which were passed during the winter session of the Uttar Pradesh legislature, including the Uttar Pradesh Criminal Law (Composition of Offences and Abatement of Trials) (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
- Adityanath government came to power in Uttar Pradesh in March last year. In May 2017, Adityanath had told the Allahabad High Court that he cannot be prosecuted in another case for allegedly making a hate speech that was said to have triggered communal riots in Gorakhpur in 2007.
- On December 21, CM Yogi Adityanath had announced that the state government would withdraw 20,000 political cases slapped on various people for reasons like staging a demonstration and holding sit-ins. Speaking on the UPCOCA debate in the state assembly, he said that his government, after due deliberations, had decided to do this. Officials said there were many instances where cases had been slapped for political and other considerations to victimize political opponents and law had been misused in a big way in the past.
- On 20 December 2017, the UP government had sent a letter to District Magistrate, Gorakhpur, directing that an application be filed to withdraw the case before the court. The government order had stated that based on a letter received from the District Magistrate on October 27, and after scrutinizing facts of the case, it had been decided to withdraw the case. The letter mentioned the names of Yogi Adityanath, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Sheetal Pandey and ten others.