Shri Ramcharitmanas row: SC grants 2 weeks to UP government to file its reply on Swami Prasad Maurya’s plea

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday granted two weeks time to the Uttar Pradesh government to file its response on former Samajwadi Party leader Swami Prasad Maurya’s plea challenging criminal proceedings initiated against him for allegedly insulting the Shri Ramcharitmanas and inciting people to tear and burn pages of the Hindu epic.

Acceding to the request made by the state government, a bench presided over by Justice B.R. Gavai ordered the matter to be listed after two weeks.

As per the details available on the website of the apex court, the matter is likely to be taken up for hearing on March 11.

In an earlier hearing, the top court had stayed the proceedings pending before the trial court and issued notice to the state government and the complainant — at whose instance an FIR was lodged against the former SP leader.

“Why are you so touchy about these things? It is a matter of interpretation. It is a line of thought. How is it an offence? He (Maurya) cannot be held responsible for burning of copies,” it had told UP government’s Additional Advocate General Sharan Dev Singh Thakur.

The Allahabad High Court in October last year had dismissed Maurya’s application filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C (Criminal Procedure Code) challenging the charge sheet and the summons issued by the Special Judge directing him to appear in the court to face the trial.

A bench of Justice Subhash Vidyarthi had said that from perusal of the charge sheet and other material on record, a prima facie case was made out to make him stand on trial in the lower court.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court was of the view that public representatives should refrain from “indulging in any act which disturbs communal harmony”.

In his complaint, lawyer Santosh Kumar Mishra alleged that the protesters burnt copies of Ramcharitmanas — the epic based on Ramayana composed by 16th-century Bhakti poet Tulsidas. Thereafter, an FIR was lodged by the City Kotwali police on February 1, 2023 in Pratapgarh against Maurya, Samajwadi Party MLA Dr R.K. Verma and some others under Sections 153, 295, 298, and 505 of the Indian Penal Code.




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