SC serves notice to UP government, police in 2007 Yogi Adityanath’s hate speech case

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and the state police department in connection with an alleged hate speech delivered by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2007. A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra issued the notice while hearing a plea challenging Allahabad High Court’s decision in the case.

The Allahabad High Court had upheld a decision by the Uttar Pradesh government to deny sanction to prosecute Yogi Adityanath in the case. The court has sought a response to the notice within four weeks.

In 2008, two persons – Asad Hyat and Pervez – had filed a petition in Allahabad High Court seeking an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It was alleged that the riots in Gorakhpur in 2007 were triggered by the speech of Yogi Adityanath.

Adityanath, who then represented Gorakhpur in Lok Sabha, was arrested and also remanded to police custody for 11 days.

The petition had sought an investigation against Adityanath under sections 302, 307, 153A, 395 and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. The case was then transferred to the CB-CID, which found in the course of investigation that the BJP leader’s voice in an audio recording was authentic.

On February 1, 2018, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed the petition seeking action against Adityanath and eight other accused. Following this, one of the petitioners, Pervez, had moved the Supreme Court.

Yogi Adityanath, who earlier was a Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur, was made the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh after the BJP won the state Assembly elections in 2017. Later in the bypolls held in the seat vacated by him, the BJP suffered a loss. Pravin Nishad of the Samajwadi Party, backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party, defeated Upendra Dutt Shukla of the BJP.