HC dismisses SP leader’s plea seeking quashing of proceedings in lower court against him for ‘burning’ copies of Ramcharit Manas

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea moved by Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Swami Prasad Maurya seeking quashing of the proceedings being conducted against him in a court in Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh for allegedly burning copies of the Ramcharit Manas.

Passing the order, the Lucknow bench of the court said from a perusal of the chargesheet and other material on record, a prima facie case was made out for Maurya to face the trial in the lower court. The bench was of the view that public representatives should refrain from doing any act that disturbs communal harmony.

The bench of Justice Subhash Vidyarthi passed the order.

In his petition, Maurya had challenged the chargesheet and summoning order passed by the lower court, directing him to appear before it to face the trial.

The SP leader had contended that the case was lodged against him due to political reasons and there was no evidence against him and thus, it would not be just if he had to face the trial.

An FIR was lodged with the Kotwali police in Pratapgarh district on February 1 on the basis of a complaint from lawyer Santosh Kumar Mishra against Maurya, SP MLA R K Verma and others.

It was alleged in the FIR that the accused burnt copies of the Hindu holy book and thus, committed the serious offence of disturbing communal harmony.

Police subsequently submitted a chargesheet against Maurya and the lower court issued a summons to the SP leader, asking him to appear before it and face the trial.

Maurya had challenged these proceedings in the high court.

Opposing Maurya’s plea, Additional Advocate General V K Shahi and government advocate V K Singh argued that the SP leader habitually indulges in such acts to disturb communal harmony and from the record, prima facie evidence was available against him to make him stand on trial and hence, the lower court’s proceedings cannot be quashed.

It may be noted that an FIR was also lodged at Lucknow’s PGI police station in connection with the matter.

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