Remarks on Ramcharitmanas: SC grants time to UP Govt to file response to Swami Prasad Maurya’s plea

The Supreme Court on Friday granted the Uttar Pradesh government 10 days to file its response on former Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Swami Prasad Maurya’s plea challenging an order of the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed his petition seeking quashing of the proceedings for his alleged remarks about ‘Ramcharitmanas’.

Maurya has been accused of having made “objectionable” remarks about ‘Ramcharitmanas’, a sacred text in the Awadhi language based on the epic Ramayana. The proceedings are pending in a Pratapgarh court in the state.

Maurya launched his new political party- Rashtriya Shoshit Samaaj Party (RSSP)- on Thursday after quitting the Samajwadi Party.

A three-judge bench of Justices B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala and Sandeep Mehta adjourned the hearing after the counsel for the state sought time to file the reply.

“Probably a change in alliances, as far as we recollect. Perhaps the prosecution might have a rethink of things. Let’s see what comes around on the next date. We may not be called upon to decide the issue and the matter may be rendered infructuous,” the bench remarked in a lighter vein, apparently referring to Maurya snapping his ties with the Samajwadi Party, the ruling BJP’s bete noire in the state.

The apex court had on January 25 stayed the criminal proceedings against Maurya in the case and issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government.

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In his petition before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, Maurya had challenged the charge sheet filed against him as well as the summons issued by a lower court.

The high court had on October 31, 2023 dismissed his plea.

An FIR was lodged in Pratapgarh district against Maurya and others last year on a complaint by a local resident Santosh Kumar Mishra.

Police submitted a charge sheet against Maurya and others in a lower court, which issued summonses to them.

Maurya has claimed there was no evidence against him to corroborate the charge that he vilified the Hindu religious text.

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