UP Assembly ruckus: Ruling and opposition benches trade charges
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly Tuesday witnessed a slanging match between the ruling and opposition benches over withdrawal of criminal cases by the BJP government in the state.
Ruling party members alleged that cases against terrorists were withdrawn during the previous regime, while the opposition benches trashed the claim and said cases against "rioters" were withdrawn by the BJP government.
Replying to a question by BSP member Shyam Sundar Sharma, Law Minister Brijesh Pathak said that from April, 2017 to July, 2020, as many as 670 cases were withdrawn by the government in 'janhit' (public interest) and "the cases pertain to political leaders and workers".
He said that after the government formation, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced the decision to withdraw "political cases" to lessen the burden on judiciary.
In his supplementary query during the Question House, the member asked about the political cases and sought a list of all people with their party affiliation whose cases were withdrawn.
To this, the minister said that political cases are not defined but those with less serious charges were withdrawn.
"After an application is made for withdrawal of cases, a 13-point report is sought from the District Magistrate concerned and then Principal Secretaries of Home and Law departments go through it before final decision," he said, adding that as law doesn't permit discrimination on basis of parties, it would not be appropriate to take names.
"If Speaker permits, I can make the list of the persons whose cases were withdrawn public," the minister said.
In his reply without taking name of the Samajwadi Party, the minister said that the previous government withdrew cases against terrorists who had charges under the Explosives Act and even POTA.
His reaction led to a sharp attack from Leader of the Opposition Ram Govind Chowdhary who alleged that the government had taken back cases of their own men.
"Even Chief Minister has withdrawn his own criminal cases. The cases against rioters were withdrawn. Those who orchestrate riots are terrorists," Chowdhary said, alleging that the minister had not responded to the main question.
The SP members also trooped into the well of the House raising slogans against the government.
Pathak said while the first cabinet meeting of the Yogi Adityanath government decided on loan waiver of farmers, the first cabinet in 2012 had decided on withdrawal of cases against terrorists.
Chowdhary taking exception to the comment said, "The minister should show the file in which terrorist word is mentioned."
Replying to him, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna said that on March 15, 2012 a circular was issued by the then chief secretary seeking details of such cases terming those lodged in jails as innocent.
Law Minister Pathak said that he had the list of all the persons against whom cases were withdrawn and added that if the Speaker permits he could make it public.
Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit, however, said that "there is not need of this." Pathak said that his government will continue to withdraw "political cases" in future also.