Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for State of Punjab, sought to draw comparisons with Kerala journalist, Siddique Kappan who was arrested by UP Police while he was on his way to Hathras to cover the gang rape case and is currently under detention in UP.
“Is Article 14 and 21 applicable to State of UP. Siddique Kappan was arrested by UP police, now can Kerala come here and seek transfer of Kappan to Kerala,” Dave asked.
Dave maintained that Punjab as a State has “nothing to do with Ansari” and that the petition by UP as far as it is against Punjab government, is not maintainable.
The Court is seized of two transfer petitions, one filed by UP government seeking transfer of Ansari from Punjab to UP and another by Ansari who has sought a transfer of cases against him to Delhi.
It was Ansari’s plea which was heard on Wednesday by a Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted that Ansari was “operating his business from Ropar Jail in Punjab.”
Mehta contended that the FIR which led to the arrest of Ansari by Punjab Police did not name Mukhtar Ansari specifically and that Ansari was taken to Punjab after he was handed over by Banda Jail Superintendent without a direction from the magistrate.
The concerned jail officer, Mehta said, has already been placed under suspension.
Further, the State of UP also raised questions on the veracity of health issues cited by Ansari.
“Medical condition was like skin disease, sore throat, back ache etc – we all are suffering from these conditions. Punjab doctor has used these reasons,” submitted the Solicitor General.
Ansari on the other hand sought a transfer of cases pending against him in UP and Punjab to Delhi. He also prayed that he be lodged in a jail in Delhi.
“I am asking for a transfer because I am seeking transfer to not only Punjab, but Delhi is fine too. I am a five-time MLA. One of my co accused Bajrangi has been eliminated in an encounter while being shifted from one jail to another by UP police 2 weeks ago,” Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi submitted on behalf of Ansari.
The hearing in the matter will continue Thursday.
In its petition before the Supreme Court, the Uttar Pradesh government has alleged that Ansari is trying to “play with the federal structure” and is misusing the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The Court had directed the Punjab government to file a detailed reply on the pending case against Ansari, including the status of trial. The government was also directed to file a report on his medical condition.