The Hindu
Mayank Kumar

The drama that unfolded during the conviction of Minister Rakesh Sachan in a 30-year-old Arms Act case and issuance of non-bailable warrant against another Minister in the Yogi Adityanath’s Cabinet, Sanjay Nishad, has brought to the fore the issue of pending cases against the Ministers and MLAs in the State. Informed sources in Lucknow suggested that the State government could soon initiate the process of collecting data from district administration about the nature of pending cases against Ministers and legislators and may initiate withdrawal process on allegedly “politically motivated” cases lodged against them.

A report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a New Delhi based organisation that works in the area of political reforms, suggests that 22 Ministers in the U.P. government have declared criminal cases against them. Of these Ministers, 20 face serious criminal cases like offences related to murder, kidnapping, rape and crimes against women.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, Minister for Industrial development Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandi’, Transport Minister Dayashankar Singh and Higher Education Minister Yogendra Upadhyaya are on the list. Roughly half of the legislators elected in the 18th Uttar Pradesh State Assembly also face criminal cases.

It will not be the first time that the Yogi government will be recommending withdrawal of cases against Ministers. Last month, the State government submitted a petition in Allahabad High Court to withdraw a criminal case against Minister Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh.

In the first tenure of Mr. Adityanath, recommendation was made to withdrawal as many as 670 cases against politicians and political workers between April 2017 to July 2020.

“I don’t know about it but it’s well known that during previous governments, cases were lodged due to political vendetta against leaders. There is a continuous process to withdraw these type of cases. Serious criminal cases can only be withdrawn after court's order. Everything would happen as per law and rules. Other governments have also withdrawn cases against people's representatives,” said Rakesh Tripathi, State BJP spokesperson.

As per the rules, before withdrawing cases, the State government needs to seek a report from district administration on specific points, after which the obtained report is put in front of a committee under the Ministry of Law, which makes a recommendation.

“In the present time, all objective is gone. Cases against politicians have been withdrawn in the previous occasions also but never the CM has signed withdrawal of cases against himself, which happened in the last tenure. The future governments would also use it as an idea, it is bad for the entire political system,” said Sharad Pradhan, a political analyst based in Lucknow.

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