The Supreme Court on Friday protected from arrest the vice chancellor and the director of a private agriculture university at Prayagraj in a case related to mass religious conversion.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of senior lawyer Siddharth Dave, appearing for the officials of the deemed university, that they were facing the imminent danger of getting arrested in a case in which they were not named accused in the FIR.
Earlier in the day, Dave mentioned the case for urgent hearing today itself saying the Allahabad High Court has refused to grant them the relief of bail in the case to Vice Chancellor Rajendra Bihari Lal and Director Vinod Bihari Lal of Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences, formerly Allahabad Agricultural Institute. This is a government-aided agricultural university at Prayagraj.
The bench heard the plea around 4 PM and granted the relief besides seeking the response of the Uttar Pradesh government in the case.
“My client is the vice chancellor and the second one is director. In Fatehpur, some FIR is lodged that some religious conversion is going on. I am in Allahabad. I am not even named in the FIR,” he said.
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The two persons have been asked to join the investigation after eight months of the lodging of the FIR, the senior lawyer said, adding that state police raided the the university and non bailable warrants have been issued.
“Pending further orders, there shall be a stay on the arrest of the petitioners,” the bench ordered.
The FIR was lodged in April last year on the complaint of a man named Himanshu Dixit.
It was alleged that around 90 Hindus were asked to assemble at Evangelical Church of India at Hariharganj in Fatehpur of the state for the purpose of converting them to Christianity by putting them under undue influence, coercion and luring them by playing fraud and promise of easy money.