Hand over Mukhtar Ansari to UP in 14 days: Supreme Court to Punjab
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Punjab government to hand over the custody of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, currently lodged in Rupnagar jail, to Uttar Pradesh Police within 14 days.
Ansari, a BSP MLA from Mau constituency, is facing trial in 10 cases involving heinous crimes ranging from murder, extortion, cheating and fraud under the Gangster Act, in UP. In 2019, he was brought to Rupnagar jail in connection with an alleged extortion case in Mohali.
The court’s directive came on a plea by the UP government seeking a direction to the Punjab government and Rupnagar jail authority to immediately hand over the custody of the legislator.
The court, however, rejected the UP government’s plea, seeking transfer of the extortion case from Punjab to it. It also dismissed Ansari’s petition seeking transfer of cases filed in UP against him to some other place outside the state.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy directed the Punjab government to hand over the custody of Ansari to Banda jail authorities in UP. It further told Banda prison authorities to extend all medical facilities to the accused.
“In our opinion, a convict or an undertrial prisoner, who disobeys the law of the land, cannot oppose his transfer from one prison to another… Courts are not to be a helpless bystander, when the rule of law is being challenged with impunity. In such situations, this court can exercise power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India to order transfer of prisoner from one prison to another,” the bench observed.
“Custody is denied to the Police of Uttar Pradesh at every time on trivial grounds under guise of medical grounds by mentioning ordinary diseases,” the bench added.
The UP government had earlier contended that Ansari had been “dodging” the judicial system and was continuing with his alleged illegal activities from Rupnagar district. The Yogi Adityanath-led government also alleged in the apex court that there is a “collusion” between Ansari and Punjab Police.
Refuting the claims, the Amarinder Singh government raised questions over the maintainability of the plea filed by his UP counterpart. On March 4, it informed the top court that the UP government did not have the fundamental right to seek Ansari’s transfer.
Since 2019, Ansari has not applied for a bail nor has Punjab Police filed a charge sheet in the case.
Due to his stay in the Punjab prison, multiple trials pending against him before the Special MP/MLA court in Allahabad were adjourned on various occasions. The warrants issued by the UP courts were also not entertained by Punjab jail authorities citing the “ill health” of the accused.