Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal Apologises In SC For Retweeting Defamatory Clip Of YouTuber

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday submitted before the Supreme Court that retweeting the video which was allegedly defamatory and was circulated by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee in 2018, was a “mistake”.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta directed the trial court not to proceed with the defamation case against him for the time being.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief has approached the apex court, challenging the February 5 order of the Delhi High Court refusing to quash the summons issued against him. The High Court had said that reposting alleged libellous content would attract defamation law.

The summon was issued in a defamation complaint lodged against him for retweeting a video of a YouTuber on the social media platform ‘X’.

During the hearing, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kejriwal, told the apex court, “There is no problem in admitting that this was a mistake if he had known that these would be the consequences.”

Singhvi requested an adjournment before the trial court, saying that they were prosecuting Kejriwal swiftly.

“They are prosecuting him very fast. They are hotfooting it. We will request an adjournment before the trial court,” he said.

Justice Khanna said that Kejriwal need not appear in court for now, given the office he occupied.

The bench then asked the complainant in the case to take instructions on whether the case could be closed based on Kejriwal’s admitting to the mistake. The complainant’s advocate said he would take instructions from his client, and thereafter, the bench posted the matter for hearing on March 11.

“Relist on Monday, March 11. In the meantime, the matter will not be taken up by the trial court,” the bench stated in its order.

A defamation complaint was filed against Kejriwal for retweeting a video by a YouTuber in 2018 accusing the founder and operator of a Twitter page called ‘I Support Narendra Modi’ of behaving like ‘BJP IT CELL Part-II’. Kejriwal retweeted the tweet, which led to the founder filing a defamation complaint against the Chief Minister. (ANI)

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Arvind Kejriwal

Our MLAs Offered Rs 25 Crore Each: Kejriwal

A day after going all out against the Centre in light of the Supreme Court order, overturning the verdict of the Chandigarh mayoral polls and calling it in favour of the AAP, the party’s national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, on Wednesday launched a blistering attack on the BJP, accusing them again of trying to induce his MLAs with big-money offers and topple elected governments in Opposition-ruled states.

Speaking on the floor of the Delhi Assembly on Wednesday, Kejriwal said, “Sometimes ‘Adharma’ (immorality) pervades the system to such an extent that we often wonder if truth and honesty have any place in society. Many good people lose their faith in the system and political class due to ‘
Adharma ka bolbala
‘ (free run of immorality). At such times, God restores our faith in the system and the virtues of honesty and probity by removing rotten elements. ‘
Charon taraf adharma ka bolbala hai
‘ (Everywhere one looks these days, immorality seems to be ruling the roost). Many have started to think that there is no sense in treading on the path of honesty and probity when those who indulged in wrong acts are conspiring against them.”

Coming out in support of former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is currently behind bars in connection with the liquor policy case, the AAP national convenor said, “The man who is responsible for Delhi’s education system and putting it at par with the world’s best (Sisodia) is in jail and the one accused of misconduct with our daughters and sisters (former national wrestling federation chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh) is still out there wielding his political clout and influence.”

Repeating his charge against the ruling party at the Centre, that it was trying to topple elected governments in Opposition-ruled states, the Delhi CM said, “Our MLAs were offered Rs 25 crore (each by the BJP to switch sides). Everywhere you see, Opposition MLAs are being lured away and governments are being toppled. Be it Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, the Northeast or Uttarakhand…everywhere one looks, elected MLAs are being lured away with black money.”

Notably, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police had issued notices to AAP chief Kejriwal and fellow party leader and minister Atishi at their homes in their absence in connection with their poaching charge at the BJP.

Responding to the Crime Branch notice, Kejriwal claimed it did not mention any FIR, adding that his party wouldn’t cower under such ‘theatrics’ and intimidatory tactics.

Veering to the Chandigarh mayoral polls, the AAP national chief said, “In Chandigarh, the BJP’s representative (presiding officer) manipulated the election results, to the extent that a candidate, who was leading initially by a significant margin, lost and the one who trailed came out eventually as the victor. Something similar played out in neighbouring Pakistan as well.”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court declared Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Kuldeep Kumar, jointly supported by the Congress, as the winner of the Chandigarh mayoral polls.

The apex court ruled that the presiding officer had deliberately defaced eight ballots cast in favour of Kuldeep Kumar, rendering them invalid.

“The eight votes which were treated as invalid by making those markings… counting the eight votes for the petitioner (AAP candidate Kumar) will make him have 20 votes. We direct that the election result by the Returning Officer is quashed. The petitioner is declared to be the winner of the Chandigarh mayoral polls,” the bench stated in its order. (ANI)

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Electoral Bond Scheme

SC To Hear Subramanian’s Plea In April

The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the petition filed by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy seeking to delete the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ from the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta posted the matter in the week commencing from April 29.

Swamy in his petition had said that the two words, inserted in the Preamble through the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act of 1976 during the Emergency, violated the basic structure doctrine enunciated in the famous Kesavananda Bharati judgment by the 13-judge bench in 1973, by which Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution was barred from tinkering with the basic features of the Constitution.

“The framers of the Constitution had specifically rejected the inclusion of these two words in the Constitution and alleged that these two words were thrust upon the citizens even when the framers never had intended to introduce socialist and secular concepts in democratic governance,” Swamy had contended.

It is argued that such insertion was beyond the amending power of the Parliament under Article 368.

It was further stated that Dr BR Ambedkar had rejected the incorporation of these words as the Constitution cannot thrust upon the citizens certain political ideologies by taking away their right to choose.

Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament and the Communist Party of India leader Binoy Viswam had also approached the Supreme Court opposing Swamy’s plea saying that ‘secularism and socialism’ are inherent and basic features of the Constitution.

“It is the intent of the plea filed by Swamy to have a free rein on Indian polity leaving behind secularism and socialism,” Viswam had said.

“Swamy’s petition is an absolute abuse of the process of law and is devoid of merit and deserves to be dismissed with exemplary costs as it challenges the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India,” the application of Viswam had stated.

The CPI MP in his impleadment application had said the real purpose behind the PIL is to allow political parties to seek votes in the name of religion.

“The 42nd amendment is challenged by the petitioner as an eyewash to succeed in striking down sub-section 5 of section 29(A) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951,” the application had stated.

The section mandates the political parties seeking registration with the Election Commission to abide by the Constitution and its principles of “secularism, socialism and democracy”.

Another plea was also filed in the apex court seeking the deletion of ‘secularism and socialism’ from the preamble by lawyers Balram Singh and Karunesh Kumar Shukla. (ANI)

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Chandigarh Mayor elections

SC Raps Civic Poll Officer Who Held Chandigarh Mayor Elections

The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the civic poll officer who held the Chandigarh Mayor elections and said that it is obvious that the Returning Officer has “defaced” the ballot papers.

“Is this the way he conducts the elections? This is a mockery of democracy. This is a murder of democracy. We are appalled. This man should be prosecuted. Is this the behaviour of the Returning Officer?” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said.

The top Court further ordered the preservation of an entire record of the election process including ballot papers, videography and other material through the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

SC directed that the ensuing meeting of the Chandigarh Corporation shall be deferred till the next date of hearing.

Kuldeep Kumar, who lost Chandigarh mayoral election, has approached the apex court against High Court refusal’s to grant an immediate stay on election result in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate was declared the Mayor.

The BJP’s Manoj Sonkar was declared the Mayor of Chandigarh on January 30 after he won the mayoral polls with 16 votes against the 12 votes bagged by Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Tita. Eight votes were declared invalid.

Eight votes, which were declared invalid in the Chandigarh Mayoral polls, have led opposition leaders to raise allegations of rigging with Congress and AAP, attacking the BJP-led central government over the issue. (ANI)

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Bilkis Bano

Bilkis Bano Case: 3 Convicts Move SC For Extension Of Time To Surrender

Three of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case have approached the Supreme Court, seeking an extension of time to surrender before the jail authorities.

Senior Advocate V Chitambaresh, appearing for the three convicts, mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Justice BV Nagarathna, seeking urgent listing of the case, saying the time of surrender is expiring on January 21.

Justice Nagarathna said that the bench that passed the judgement in the Bilkis Bano case, comprising herself and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, has to hear the applications.

The apex court then directed its Registry to seek orders from the Chief Justice of India for the constitution of the bench and listing of the case on Friday.

Another counsel told the bench that another convict would also file applications during the day.

The applications have been filed by three convicts–Govindbhai Nai, Mitesh Chimanlal Bhatt, and Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana–who, among others, were granted remission by the Gujarat government in the gangrape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

They were sentenced to life imprisonment but released in August 2022 after serving 14 years of sentence.

Govindbhai has sought an extension of time by four weeks to surrender, citing health issues and the fact that he is the only caretaker of his elderly parents.

Ramesh Rupabhai Chandana sought an extension of six weeks, citing health issues, harvesting of crops and his son’s marriage.

Mitesh Chimanlal Bhatt, 62, says he is an old senior citizen, has undergone eye surgery for a cataract and sought six weeks to surrender due to the impending harvest of crops.

On January 8, the Supreme Court struck down the Gujarat government’s order granting remission to 11 convicts.

It had quashed the Gujarat government’s remission order, by which convicts were released pre-maturely, and asked them to surrender before jail authorities within two weeks.

The bench had held that the Gujarat government was not competent to pass the remission orders but the Maharashtra government.

It held that the judgement of May 13, 2022, by which another bench of the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to consider remission of the convict as per the 1992 policy, was obtained by “playing fraud” on the court and by suppressing material facts.

The convicts had not approached the court with clean hands, said the bench, adding that proceedings before this court were due to “suppression of facts” and that is why it is fraud played on this court.

The judgement of the top court had come on a petition filed by Bilkis Bano and others challenging the premature release of 11 convicts.

Earlier, the Gujarat government, in its affidavit, defended the remission granted to convicts, saying they had completed a 14-year sentence in prison and their “behaviour was found to be good.”

In March 2002, during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara. (ANI)

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wazukhana Gyanvapi mosque

Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath Temple: SC Allows Cleaning Of ‘Wazukhana’ Where ‘Shivling’ Was Found

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed an application of Hindu women petitioners seeking direction for cleaning the entire area of ‘wazukhana’ of Gyanvapi mosque where the alleged ‘Shivling’ was found and maintaining hygienic condition.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the area of ‘wazukhana’ shall be cleaned under the supervision of district administration Varanasi, having regard to the previous orders of the apex court.

Gyanvapi mosque management committee said it supports cleaning of the water tank, which has remained sealed on apex court’s orders for nearly two years.

‘Wazukhana’ is the reservoir where devotees perform ablutions before offering namaz.

The application said fishes in the water tank died between December 12 to 25, 2023 and due to the same, there is a putrid smell emitting from the tank.

“Since there exists Shivlingam which is sacred to Hindus and should be kept away from all dirt, grime, dead animals, etc. and must be in clean condition, is currently in the midst of dead fish which is hurtful to the sentiments to the devotees of Lord Shiva,” the application stated.

The application filed through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain said fishes in the water tank have died and due to the same, there is a putrid smell emitting from the tank.

It is further submitted that the Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masjid which manages the mosque in the Gyanvapi complex is responsible for the condition of fish due to which they have died.

“In case, the fishes would had been transferred as requested by District Magistrate, Varanasi the present unfortunate situation would have not occurred,” the application said while seeking direction to clean ‘wazukhana’.

The area of ‘wazukhana’ was sealed in 2022 on a Supreme Court order after the discovery of what was said to be a ‘Shivling’.

A structure — claimed to be a “Shivling” by the Hindu side and a “fountain” by the Muslim side — was found in the mosque premises on May 16, 2022, during a court-mandated survey of the mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The ‘Wazu’ area of the Gyanvapi mosque is the centre of the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple dispute between Hindus and Muslim parties in the case since the Hindu parties claim that ‘Shivling’ has been found in that spot, however, the Muslim side disputed the same and said that it is only a water fountain. (ANI)

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Mathura's Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi

SC Stays Order For Appointing Commission For Shahi Eidgah Mosque: Mathura

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allhabadad High Court order for appointment of a Commission for the Shahi Eidgah Mosque in connection with Mathura’s Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah Masjid dispute.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta also issued notice to concerned respondents on a plea filed by the Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah challenging the Allahabad High Court order for the appointment of a Commission for the Shahi Eidgah Mosque.

The court listed the matter for January 23 for further hearing.

The court said that proceedings before the trial court can be continued but the commission cannot be executed till the next date of hearings.

The court observed that HC has acted on a vague application seeking omnibus directions.

The court noted that the application has to be specific.

“This is wrong, you have to be very clear about what you want… It is an omnibus application,” the court said.

The Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court order for the appointment of a Commission for the Shahi Eidgah Mosque.

Advocate Reena N. Singh, representing Bhagwan Sri Krishna Lalla Virajman told ANI “Today, the court heard about the survey order of the Allahabad High Court case which was being challenged by the Muslim side. The Intezamia Committee had challenged the order and today the Supreme Court stayed the survey order only. But they have not stayed the trial. The trial at Allahabad High Court will continue. The next date of hearing is on 23rd January.”

The Special Leave Petition (SLP) by the mosque committee challenged the order dated December 14 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad allowing an Application for the appointment of a Commission for the Shahi Eidgah Mosque where prayers are being regularly offered by the Muslim community from time immemorial.

“The High Court has allowed the Application for appointment of a Commission without considering the objections of the Petitioner herein and without considering the fact that the very existence of the Suit has been questioned by the Petitioner herein, whose Application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC for rejection of the Plaint has been kept pending without any decision,” the petition copy said.

Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah was represented by advocates Tasneem Ahmadi, Mehmood Pracha and RHA Sikander.

The Supreme Court is also dealing with various matters relating to Mathura’s Krishna Janambhoomi land dispute.

Earlier Committee of Management Trust Shahi Masjid Idgah filed an appeal in the top court challenging the Allahabad High Court order which transfers to itself all the petitions relating to Mathura’s Krishna Janambhoomi land dispute from District Court Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

Masjid Idgah challenged the order dated May 26 passed by the Allahabad High Court whereby it transferred all such cases relating to the Krishna Janambhoomi dispute from the District Court Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, to itself.

Ranjana Agnihotri, a resident of Lucknow, had filed a suit in Mathura court demanding the ownership of 13.37 acres of land of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi.

In her legal suit, Agnihotri demanded the removal of the Shahi Idgah mosque built in Krishna Janmabhoomi.

The suit filed in the Mathura court sought the removal of a mosque said to have been built in 1669-70 on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the 13.37-acre premises of Katra Keshav Dev temple, near the birthplace of Lord Krishna. (ANI)

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AAP leader Satyendar Jain

SC Extends Jain’s Interim Bail

The Supreme Court on Monday extended the interim bail given to AAP leader Satyendar Jain until further orders in a money laundering case.

A bench of Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma deferred that matter after Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Jain, argued at length and later requested an adjournment. The matter will be listed tomorrow.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Satyendar Jain, took the court through the genesis of the case against his client.

Senior Advocate Singhvi told the court that Jain has cooperated in the matter and there is no predicate offence made against the former minister.

The lawyer said that according to the law, assets of a company can never be attributed to a shareholder or director and he asked how money can be attributed to Jain, which lies in the company.

Additional Solicitor General, SV Raju, appeared for the probe agency.

Meanwhile, the hearing on Jain’s bail witnessed many twists and turns today as Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud explained why the matter was listed before a different combination of benches as there was a matter relating to the extension of bail. CJI also mentioned the communication received from Justice AS Bopanna to take up part-heard matters from him because he will not be able to hear the matter due to medical reasons.

Earlier, Jain’s bail plea was partly heard by a bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Bela M. Trivedi. Today, the matter is listed before a bench of Justice Trivedi and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.

Jain underwent surgery on July 21. The interim bail given to Jain on medical grounds is extended from time to time.

On May 26, the top court granted interim bail to Satyendar Jain for six weeks in the money laundering case but imposed various conditions, including refusing to talk with the media nor leaving Delhi without permission.

The top court had also given Jain the right to choose any hospital of his choice for his medical treatment. The top court had made it clear that interim bail is considered in medical conditions.

Satyendar Jain has moved to the top court seeking bail in money laundering cases. He has challenged the Delhi High Court order dismissing his bail plea in the money laundering case against him.

Satyendar Jain’s lawyer had told the top court that he had lost 35 kg and turned into a skeleton due to this.

Former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain has moved the Supreme Court to challenge the Delhi High Court order dismissing his bail plea in the money laundering case against him.

On April 6, the Delhi High Court dismissed the bail plea of Satyendar Jain. The HC, while dismissing the Satyendar Jain bail plea, stated that the applicant is an influential person and has the potential to tamper with evidence. Satyender Jain/applicant, at this stage, can’t be held to clear the twin conditions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The HC had kept the order reserved for March 21 after the conclusion of the submissions made by the defence and prosecution sides after multiple hearings. During arguments in the High Court, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju appeared for the Enforcement Directorate, contented that money laundering is crystal clear against Jain and other co-accused. In his bail plea, Jain stated, “I appeared before the ED on seven occasions. I have cooperated and participated in the investigation. I was arrested five years down the line in 2022.”

On November 17, 2022, the trial court dismissed the bail petition of Satyendar Jain. He was arrested on May 30, 2022, under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the Enforcement Directorate and is presently in Judicial Custody in the case.

The ED case is based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaint registered on the allegation that Satyendar Jain had acquired movable properties in the name of various persons from February 14, 2015, to May 31, 2017, which he could not satisfactorily account for. (ANI)

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Bilkis Bano

Bilkis Bano Case: SC Asks 11 Convicts To Surrender

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down the Gujarat government’s order granting remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan quashed the Gujarat government’s remission order by which convicts were released pre-maturely.

It asked all 11 convicts to surrender before jail authorities within two weeks.

The bench held that the Gujarat government was not competent to pass the remission orders but the Maharashtra government. It said the appropriate government to decide the remission was the state within whose territorial limits the accused are sentenced, not where the crime is committed or the accused are imprisoned.

The top court held that the judgement of May 13, 2022, by which another bench of the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to consider remission of convicts as per the 1992 policy, was obtained by “playing fraud” on the court and by suppressing material facts.

The Gujarat government usurped the powers of the Maharashtra government acting in furtherance of the judgement dated May 13, 2022, which, in our opinion, is a “nullity,” said the bench.

The convicts had not approached the court with clean hands, said the bench, adding that proceedings before this court were due to “suppression of facts,” and that is why it is fraud played on this court.

The apex court questioned why the Gujarat government had not filed any application seeking a review of the May 13, 2022, order, as it was not the appropriate government.

It was a classic case where the order of the Supreme Court has been used for violating the rule of law for passing orders for remission, the top court said.

The exercise of power by the State of Gujarat is an instance of “usurpation and abuse of power,” said the bench while reprimanding the State government for not filing a petition to review the convicts’ release.

“The exercise of power by the State of Gujarat is an instance of usurpation of power and abuse of power. This is a classic case where the order of this court was used to violate the rule of law by granting remission. On that ground also, the remission orders deserve to be quashed,” it said.

The judgement of the top court came on a petition filed by Bilkis Bano and others challenging the pre-mature release of 11 convicts.

Pronouncing the verdict, the bench said, “We hold that writ proceeding before this court was due to suppression of facts and that is why it is fraud played on this court…”

Earlier, the Gujarat government, in its affidavit had defended the remission granted to convicts, saying they had completed a 14-year sentence in prison and their “behaviour was found to be good”.

The State government had said it has considered the cases of all 11 convicts as per the policy of 1992 and remission was granted on August 10, 2022 and the central government government also approved the release of convicts.

It is pertinent to note that the remission was not granted under the circular governing the grant of remission to prisoners as part of the celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.”

The pleas filed before the top court had said they have challenged the order of competent authority of the government of Gujarat by way of which 11 persons who were accused in a set of heinous offences committed in Gujarat were allowed to walk free on August 15, 2022, pursuant to remission being extended to them.

The remission in this heinous case would be entirely against public interest and would shock the collective public conscience, as also be entirely against the interests of the victim (whose family has publicly made statements worrying for her safety), pleas stated.

The Gujarat government had released the 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, on August 15, 2022. All 11 life-term convicts in the case were released as per the remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.

In March 2002, during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara. (ANI)

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Bilkis Bano

SC Notice To Centre, UP On Pleas Challenging Notification On Ban On Halal Certification

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government on a plea seeking the quashing of notification wherein manufacture, sale, storage and distribution of halal-certified products were banned in the state.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta sought a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Uttar Pradesh through Hazratganj Police Station and Food Safety and Drug Administration in two weeks.

Two petitions were filed by Jamiat Ulama-E-Maharashtra and Halal India Pvt. Ltd. seeking direction to quash the November 18 notification of Uttar Pradesh’s Food Safety and Drug Administration and FIRs registered against them.

Petitions challenged a ban imposed by the Uttar Pradesh government on the “manufacture, sale, storage, and distribution of halal-certified products” on November 18.

Lucknow police had registered an FIR on November 17 at Hazratganj police station against some organisations, production companies, their owners and managers as well as other unidentified people involved in unnecessarily extorting money in the name of halal certification and promoting enmity in the name of religion and also funding different anti-national, separatist and terror organisations.

Petitioners said FIR was registered against them and they have been implicated despite the fact that they have no role whatsoever to play in relation to the issuance of halal certification.

At the outset of the hearing, the bench asked the petitioner, “Why should we entertain it under Article 32? Does the High Court not have jurisdiction to examine this?”

The counsel appearing for the petitioner said Uttar Pradesh’s ban has national implications and its impact on inter-state trade and commerce. The ban also affects the freedom of religion, counsel added.

“The court’s attention is required on whether a notification of this nature can be issued and second whether entities carrying out this exercise as accredited bodies under the aegis of the commerce ministry can be subjected to prosecution, only on grounds that such a certification is there. Such a position, however, has not been taken for practices of other religions or denominations like kosher. This will also have a significant impact on health, and on religious practices,” the advocate told the bench.

The petition filed by Jamiat Ulama-E-Maharashtra stated that FIR levies serious allegations against it for promoting halal products by which the companies are trying to bring communal differences among the consumers.

The petition stated that notification is “arbitrary and based on unreasonable classification”, said the petition adding that the manufacture, sale, storage and distribution of halal-certified products were banned with immediate effect in Uttar Pradesh from the view of “public health”.

“The notification is manifestly arbitrary as it capriciously excludes only halal certification while other certifications such as Jain, Satvik and even kosher have not been included within the purview of the said notification, indicating that it arbitrarily singles out one certification on the basis of religion which is an impermissible classification,” the petition said.

The notification has been issued without any adequate principle to determine as to how halal certification is adversely effecting public health, which is again vague, arbitrary and unreasonable, it added.

“It is submitted that the notification disincentivises the food preference of one particular religion without any rational basis and is therefore contrary to the secular fabric of the nation,” the plea further said. (ANI)

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