NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine a plea for revival of a case against SP leader Azam Khan for making insensitive remarks on the Bulandshahr gang rape case, calling it “an outcome of political conspiracy”.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar decided to re-open the case against the SP leader after Attorney General K K Venugopal told them that he was a habitual offender and continued to make controversial statements even after being let off once before by the apex court.
Venugopal brought to the court’s notice that Khan had recently made derogatory comments against the Army for which he was being prosecuted under the charge of sedition.
Taking strong exception to Khan’s insensitive remarks, the Court had last year initiated proceedings against him. It had issued notice and sought his explanation on a plea of 14-year-old girl and her mother who were gang-raped near the highway in Bulandshahr. The victims were travelling with family members and were on their way from Noida to Shahjahanpur in western UP.
The apex court in December last year had accepted an unconditional apology tendered by the controversial politician for his remarks and dropped the proceedings against him.
Contending that the court should not have let him off in the case, Venugopal said that the Khan should have been prosecuted for interference in administration of justice as he was a minister at that time and his statement had interfered in the ongoing probe.
“It was an atrocious statement. A minister cannot make such kind of statements. He was actually saying that the mother and the daughter were lying. It is a fit case to proceed under Section 186 of IPC (Obstructing public servant in discharge of functions). He was actually directing the state police to accept his stand and close the case. It was an interference in the administration of justice. He cannot be exonerated. Fortunately CBI took over the probe in the case,” he said.
Venugopal, however, made it clear that he was not speaking on behalf of Centre and was just assisting the court on the legal issues involved in the case.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, supported Venugopal’s contention and said that apex court should set a principle that the holder of constitutional posts could not make such statements in cases of ongoing probe. He said said that a minister should not be allowed to shoot from the hip and the court should sent a strong message to such politicians.
The court, thereafter, allowed him to file application for revival of proceedings against him.
An FIR has been filed against Khan under sections related to sedition, abetting mutiny and public mischief in Uttar Pradesh for his controversial statements against Army, blaming it for “shameful violent incidents” in Jammu and Kashmir.