Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar*, JJ has dismissed the Special Leave to Appeal in the hate speech case relating to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Allegedly, a hate speech had led to the 2007 Gorakhpur Riots and a case was registered against CM Yogi Adityanath, who was then a Member of Parliament and some others. When a writ petition was filed before the Allahabad High Court, it had framed the following questions

(1) When the State fails to perform its statutory and constitutional duty to investigate a crime in a fair and impartial manner, whether the High Court in exercise of its jurisdiction conferred by Article 226 of the Constitution is vested with the power to transfer the investigation to be conducted by any other investigating agency.

(2) Whether in the facts and circumstances of the instant case, the State has failed to perform its statutory duty to conduct a fair investigation in the matter and the same is liable to be transferred to some other independent agency to ensure fair investigation.

(3) Whether the State can pass an order under Section 196 Cr.P.C. in respect of a proposed accused in a criminal case who in the meantime gets elected as the Chief Minister and is the Executive Head as per the scheme provided under Article 163 of the Constitution of India.

The High Court, ultimately, did not find any procedural error either in the conduct of the investigation or in the decision making process of refusal to grant sanction or any other illegality in the order.

The original writ petitioners before the High approached the Supreme Court inviting Court’s attention towards the third issue framed by the High Court relating to denial of sanction for prosecution of the accused under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

It was argued that CM Yogi Adityanath, who was then a Member of Parliament and had allegedly made a hate speech, had later on became the Chief Minister of the State of Uttar Pradesh and thereby, the Executive Head of the State. In such a situation, it is the Governor of the State who is empowered to consider the question of grant of sanction in terms of the Rules of Business. It was, hence, argued that the High Court had failed to consider this issue in an appropriate manner.

State, on the other hand, contended that nothing survives in this matter except for a mere academic exercise, as a closure report has already been filed by the investigating agency.

The Supreme Court agreed with the State and observed that the subsequent events have rendered the present appeal into a purely academic exercise for the following reasons:

  • According to the records in the case at hand, the forensic report of the CD which forms the basis of the prosecution was found to be tampered and edited as per the report dated 13.10.2014, submitted by the CFSL. This has not been disputed by the appellants herein.
  • A short affidavit was filed on behalf of the second respondent wherein it is stated that the investigation was closed on 06.05.2017. This position has also not been disputed by the appellants. Thus, as of now, the position that emerges is that the investigation has culminated in a closure/refer report.
  • A protest petition has been filed which is pending consideration before the trial Court.

The Court, hence, refused to go into the issue of denial of sanction for prosecution and the legal pleas sought to be raised in relation to the said issue. It, however, left the the legal questions on the issue of sanction open for consideration in an appropriate case.

[Parvez Parwaz v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1103, decided on 26.08.2022]

*Judgment by: Justice CT Ravikumar

For appellants: Advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi

For State: Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi

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