The Supreme Court Monday permitted Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who was arrested in September 2021 for allegedly running a religious conversion syndicate and was granted conditional bail in April this year, to go to his native village in Uttar Pradesh to attend the funeral of his brother.
The court made it clear that Siddiqui shall not participate in any political or social activities while in Uttar Pradesh, barring the activities connected with the funeral of his brother and he shall not deliver any public speech while being in the state.
The apex court is seized of a petition filed by Uttar Pradesh challenging the Allahabad High Court’s April this year order granting bail to Siddiqui in the case lodged for alleged offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.
The top court, while hearing the matter on May 9, had said that during the period Siddiqui remains enlarged on bail, he shall not leave the National Capital Territory of Delhi except for the purpose of attending the trial or for meeting the investigating officer.
Siddiqui’s counsel mentioned the matter on Monday before a bench headed by Justice Aniruddha Bose.
His counsel told the bench, also comprising justices Sanjay Kumar and SVN Bhatti, that Siddiqui has filed an application seeking a one-time modification of the order, which restrained him from entering Uttar Pradesh, in the wake of the death of his brother.
His counsel said the funeral is to take place today itself.
“The main matter is pending before this court in which direction has been issued to the effect that the applicant shall not enter the state of Uttar Pradesh except for attending the trial or meeting the investigating officer,” the bench noted in its order.
“Considering the reason for which the applicant (Siddiqui) wants the temporary lifting of the restraint order against his entry into the state of Uttar Pradesh, we permit him to go to his native village, which, we are apprised in the course of hearing, is village Fulat in the district of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh,” it said.
The apex court permitted him to enter Uttar Pradesh to attend the funeral and said, “Thereafter he must return to his present place of residence at Delhi.”
The applicant’s location setup on his mobile phone shall remain open during his entry, stay and exit to, in and from the state of Uttar Pradesh, the bench said.
While hearing the state’s plea challenging the high court order, the apex court had on August 22 asked Uttar Pradesh to apprise it of the specific role attributed to Siddiqui in the case.
The high court had granted bail to Siddiqui on April 5 while noting that two co-accused had already secured the relief.
It had noted that one of the co-accused was granted bail by the apex court, while the other was given relief by a coordinate bench of the high court.