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PM remark: Allahabad High Court issues notice to UP government on Pawan Khera plea seeking quashing of FIRs

The Allahabad High Court has sought response of the Uttar Pradesh government on a petition filed by Congress Spokesperson Pawan Khera, seeking quashing of FIRs registered against him over his controversial remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Days after the Supreme Court clubbed the FIRs registered against Khera at Varanasi and Assam and transferred them toHazratganj Police Station in Lucknow, Khera moved the High Court, seeking quashing of the FIRs and stay on investigation in the cases.

The Bench of Justice Sangeeta Chandra and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari issued notice to the state government and private respondents, directing them to file counter affidavits by May 4, the next date of hearing.

The High Court observed that in its order of March 20, the Supreme Court had already given interim protection to the Congress leader and also the option for applying for regular bail before the jurisdictional court.

Therefore, there was no need to grant any interim order as of now, it added.

Senior Advocate J.N. Mathura, appearing for Khera, apprised the High Court that in the FIR registered at Assam, the informant, respondent no 6, had invoked several Sections. However, the Investigating Officer had issued a notice to the petitioner under Section 41 (A) of CrPC only under Sections 153-A, 153-B(1)/ 500/504/505(1)(b)/505(2) IPC, directed him to make his statement.

Noting that after the removal of Sections 295 and 120-B from the purview of investigation, there seemed no imminent threat of arrest to the petitioner, the Counsel said the investigation, however, itself be quashed as it was oppressive and not made out from a bare perusal of the allegations made in the FIR.

On February 23, Assam police had arrested Khera from Delhi airport over his comment against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The Congress leader moved the Apex Court the same day, which granted him interim relief till February 28 and stated that he should be released on interim bail on production before the jurisdictional Magistrate at Delhi. 

The interim bail was later extended to March 3, March 17 and later to April 10.

Khera was represented by Senior Advocate J.N. Mathur, assisted by Advocates Karan Sharma, S.M. Abid, Rohit Kaliyar, Mohit Siwach and Sheeran M. Alvi. AGA Shiv Nath Tilhari appeared for the State Respondents.

(Case title – Pawan Khera vs. State of UP through Principal Secretary, Home and others)

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