Sunday, April 14, 2024

Gorakhpur riots 2007: Supreme Court quashes plea challenging UP government’s refusal to prosecute CM Yogi Adityanath

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging the dropping of hate speech and other charges against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in relation to the 2007 Gorakhpur riots.

A Bench led by outgoing Chief Justice of India NV Ramana stated,

“Not necessary to go into issue of denial of sanction in this case. The legal questions of sanction will be kept open to be dealt with in an appropriate case.”

The Court was dealing with a petition challenging the decision of the Uttar Pradesh government to effectively drop the 2007 Gorakhpur riots cases involving Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by not granting sanction for his prosecution.

During the course of hearings before the apex court, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the CM, had earlier submitted that nothing was remaining in the matter after forensic and closure reports had been accepted.

A CD containing the alleged hate speeches made by Adityanath in connection with the riots was found to be fake, he added.

Advocate Fuzail Ayyubi, appearing for the petitioner, had submitted that the matter regarding sanction has to go to the Governor as per Supreme Court precedents.

“What you are raising is an academic question. If there are no criminal proceedings then where is the question of sanction?” CJI Ramana had asked.

Ayyubi argued that there was a subsequent CD that was submitted and that the CID had completed its probe in 2015 and sought sanction for prosecution that year. The then Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party government in the State had not granted the same, he added.

Rohatgi then responded,

“Here petitioner says he is a public-spirited person and he is accused of violating the National Security Act and also convicted under Section 376B and here he says he is bothered about a 2007 incident, please see the antecedents.”

He asked that costs be imposed on the petitioner.

In 2007, Adityanath, then a Member of Parliament from the Gorakhpur constituency, had delivered a speech urging the people gathered to avenge the death of a Hindu boy. He had said,

“Agar koi Hinduon ke gharon aur dukano mein aag lagata hain, toh main nahi manta ki aap sab in sab kirtiyon ko karne se rokta hain. (If someone put the homes and shops of Hindus on fire, then I do not believe that you should also be stopped from doing the same).”

Communal riots had followed in Gorakhpur, with ten people losing their lives as rains, buses, mosques and homes were burnt down. After the speech, Adityanath was arrested on charges of disturbing peace, but was released after a fortnight.

The petitioner before the Supreme Court, Parvez Parwaz, had in 2008 lodged a complaint accusing Adityanath and other leaders of inciting violence.

In 2017, the State government refused sanction to prosecute Adityanath and four other BJP leaders in the case, saying that the video evidence, stored on a CD and sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in October 2014, was “tampered” with.

Case title: Parvez Parwaz vs State of Uttar Pradesh


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