SC grants Anticipatory Bail to Umar Ansari in 2022 Hate Speech case

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the anticipatory bail plea filed by Umar Ansari, son of late gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, in connection with the alleged hate speech case registered against him by Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police during the 2022 Assembly polls.

Asking Umar Ansari to appear and participate in the ongoing trial, a Bench presided over by Justice Hrishikesh Roy said that in the event of arrest, he will be released on bail on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 20,000.

During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the offending statement was not attributed to Umar Ansari, and other co-accused, including his brother Abbas Ansari, had already been granted regular bail by the trial court.

Opposing the plea, Additional Advocate General (AAG) Garima Prashad, representing UP Police, submitted that non-bailable warrants were issued against Umar Ansari on account of his non-appearance before the trial court and he should surrender to get bail.

Earlier in January this year, the Bench, also comprising Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, issued a notice and granted ad interim protection from arrest to Umar Ansari.

“Issue notice returnable within a period of four weeks, in the meantime, the petitioner is protected from arrest,” the top court had ordered.

In December 2023, the Allahabad High Court rejected the anticipatory bail application filed by Umar Ansari, co-accused in the hate speech case. He allegedly threatened UP government officials with payback at a public meeting in Paharpur area in Mau, during elections.

Mau police, in March 2022 booked the Ansari brothers under Section 171F (offence of undue influence at an election) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, after a video of the speech went viral on social media.

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The Supreme Court in July last year had declined to quash criminal proceedings against Umar Ansari and asked him to apply for discharge before the trial court.

He had contended that he was charged for merely being on the stage when his brother allegedly made the controversial speech in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

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