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Supreme Court dismisses appeal against denial of sanction to prosecute UP CM in provocative speech case

New Delhi| The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for not being allowed to prosecute him for allegedly spreading hate speech in 2007.

Justice Hima Kohli and Justice C.T. Ravikumar were accompanied by Chief Justice (CJI) N. A bench headed by V. Ramana said, “It appears from the record that the forensic report of the CD, which forms the basis for the prosecution, was tampered with and edited as per the report dated 13.10.2014, submitted by the CFSL. His position is not disputed.”

The bench said the investigation was closed on May 6, 2017, though a protest petition was pending before the trial court. “In these circumstances, we do not consider it necessary to go into the arguments raised by both the parties on the issue of denial of sanction for prosecution and the legal arguments sought to be raised in respect of the said issue,” it said.

During the hearing in the matter, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, said that nothing is left in the matter and the CD has been sent to CFSL and it has been tampered with. He said the issue raised by the petition has already been examined by the High Court and after 15 years there is no point in going into the issue and that person is the Chief Minister at present.

In February 2018, the High Court said that it did not find any procedural error in the decision-making process of refusing sanction to prosecute. Petitioner Parvez Parwaz and another person challenged the Allahabad High Court order and sought an impartial inquiry into the alleged inflammatory speech by Adityanath when he was an MP, which, according to their allegations, had triggered the 2007 Gorakhpur riots.

Advocate Fuzail Ahmed Ayyubi, representing the petitioners, referred to one of the issues mentioned in the High Court which read, “Can the State pass an order under section 196 CrPC in respect of a proposed accused in a criminal case which meanwhile is elected as the Chief Minister and is the executive head in accordance with the scheme provided under Article 163 of the Constitution. Ayyubi said the High Court did not address the issue and said that due to the denial of sanction to prosecute, a closure report has been filed.

“After considering the material placed on record, we are of the view that the subsequent developments have turned the present appeal into purely academic practice,” the top court said.

“We think it is appropriate that the legal questions on the issue of sanction be left open for consideration in a suitable matter. As a result, this appeal is dismissed,” the bench said.

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