The Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday saw the Opposition and ruling benches trading allegations against each other over withdrawal of cases during their respective regimes. However, the ruling party members claimed to have withdrawn 670 “less serious” cases against politicians and others in “public interest”.
While Uttar Pradesh Law Minister Brijesh Pathak alleged that cases against terrorists had been withdrawn during the previous regime, the Opposition said cases against the chief minister, deputy chief minister and rioters have been withdrawn during the current BJP regime. A slanging match continued in the House amid sloganeering.
“Kya yeh satya nahi hai ki CM ke… UP CM ke mukadmein vapas liye gaye, danga karne walon ke mukadmein wapas liye gaye… (Is it not true that cases have been withdrawn against CM, Deputy Chief Minister and rioters),” said Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary. He added, “Swayam danga karate hain… swayam Hindu Muslim karte hain (They themselves orchestrate riots, stoke communal flames).”
The question was initially raised by BSP Legislature Shyam Sunder Sharma over withdrawal of cases against politicians during the present regime.
In his reply, Pathak said, “April 1, 2017 se July 20, 2020 tak, 670 mukadme wapas liye jane ki santutiyan janhit mein ki gayi hai… Yeh mukadme samanyatah rajnetaon evam rajnaitik karyakartaon se sambandhit hain (Since April 1, 2017 to July 2020 recommendations have been made for withdrawal of 670 cases in public interest. These cases are generally against politicians and political workers).”
He claimed that these cases were less severe and will ensure that the accused are not harassed unnecessarily. The minister said since there is no provision under the Indian Penal Code to register specific political cases, so it is not appropriate to segregate them party-wise.
To this, BSP Legislature Sharma requested to inform the kind of cases and people against whom these cases have been withdrawn and whether there are other such cases that are still pending. He also enquired on what basis the government has divided the cases into most serious, serious and less serious types of crimes, while selecting them for withdrawal?
Pathak said there was a procedure for withdrawal of these cases, under which a report on 13 points is sought from the District Magistrate concerned. Then it is vetted through a committee, under the Principal Secretary of Law Department, before making the recommendation. “Humnein nyaya vyavastha mein mukadmon ka bojh kam ho… isliye mukadmein vapas liye (We have withdrawn cases to lessen the burden on judiciary),” said Pathak.
He added that he also has a list of cases against “terrorists” for whom withdrawal was recommended in 2013 during the previous regime. Pathak started listing cases registered under the Explosives Act at Dashashmedh Ghat police station in Varanasi, Gorakhpur Cant Police station, Bijnore and Lucknow. As he also started taking names of accused in these cases amid chants of “shame-shame” from the treasury benches, the Opposition alleged that the minister was diverting from the question asked.
As Pathak referred to the Opposition as “Atankwadiyon ke samarthak, yeh bharat mata ke bhanshak (supporters of terrorists and destroyer of Mother India), Samajwadi Party members trooped into the well of the House raising slogans against the government.
Pointing towards the treasury benches, Chaudhary said the biggest criminals were sitting on the other side. He said for the first time a CM recommended withdrawal of his own cases.
To this, Pathak objected and said he also has a list of cases against then Chief Minister in 2013, which were recommended for withdrawal. “I have kept a 2013 order, which was initiated in 2016, and the case was withdrawn against then Chief Minister,” said Pathak. “There is no bigger criminal than you in the state. It’s a first that a chief minister has withdrawn cases against him,” said Leader of Opposition Chaudhary.
As Parliamentary affairs Minister Suresh Khanna objected to it and said such language was objectionable, Chaudhary continued to allege that cases against rioters have been withdrawn.
After much uproar, the issue was resolved as Speaker Hriday Narayan Dixit said the House cannot be disturbed in this manner.