The Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court on Monday that the Punjab government was “vociferously defending” Uttar Pradesh Member of Legislative Assembly Mukhtar Ansari and stalling his transfer from Ropar Jail to Ghazipur Jail.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP government, told the Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah that serious charges are pending in UP against Ansari, who has been remanded in Punjab for two years in connection with a “minor case”.
“How can the State of Punjab support Ansari so much?”, Mehta queried.
The SG added,
“He is being vociferously defended by State of Punjab. Still UP wants him. Affidavit of Punjab has much to be desired. It says that Ansari is suffering from depression! He is enjoying in Punjab jail. Punjab here is supporting a gangster. There are very serious cases pending and the trial of the same is pending in Uttar Pradesh.”
Mehta further submitted that it was a “question of serious significance”.
“He has been facing serious charges where summons was issued. He got an FIR filed in Punjab and did not even file for bail there and is enjoying in Punjab. These are all counterblast petitions,” he said.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ansari, argued that hearings are taking place through video conference and that the same can happen with the cases in UP as well.
To this, SG Mehta replied,
“You cannot choose the forum. You cannot sit in five-star accommodation and then appear for trial in UP. Please record the statement of Punjab that there is no urgency in the matter,” said Mehta.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave represented the State of Punjab.
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.