Once again, some opposition chief ministers have filed petitions against their Governors in the Supreme Court for allegedly exceeding their roles.
The Supreme Court on Monday relaxed its order and permitted Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who has been accused of allegedly running a religious conversion syndicate, to travel to Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh to attend the funeral of his brother today.
Siddiqui was arrested by the anti-terrorist squad of Uttar Pradesh police in September 2021. Later he was granted bail by Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court later on May 9, 2023, modified the bail order and restricted the movement of Siddiqui with the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
A Justice Aniruddha Bose, heading a bench also comprising Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti said Siddiqui after attending the funeral of his brother, must return to his present place of residence in Delhi. He will refrain from participating in any political and social other activity or making any speech.
Relaxing the order earlier restricting his movement within the NCT Delhi only, the bench in its order today said, “Considering the reason for which he wants lifting of the temporary restraint order on his entry into Uttar Pradesh. we permit him to go to his native village, which we are apprised of during hearing, is Fulat, Muzaffarnagar.”
“We also make it clear that applicant (Siddiqui) shall not participate in any political or social activities while in Uttar Pradesh, barring activities connected with funeral, and he shall not deliver any speech while in Uttar Pradesh,” the bench said in its order.
Siddiqui had approached the top court on Monday – August 28, with an urgent application seeking to attend his brother’s funeral, which was to take place today (August 28) itself.
The top court is seized of an appeal by the Uttar Pradesh government challenging April 2023, the Allahabad High Court order granting bail to Siddiqui for the alleged offences under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and that of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.
The top court on May 9, while hearing the Uttar Pradesh government’s appeal against the High Court order had said that during the period Siddiqui remains enlarged on bail, he shall not leave the NCT Delhi except for the purpose of attending the trial or for meeting the investigating officer.
The High Court granted bail to Siddiqui in the case while noting that one of the co-accused in the case was granted bail by the Supreme Court, while the other was given the relief by a coordinate bench of the High Court.
Siddiqui, an Islamic scholar and president of the Jamia Imam Waliullah Trust, has been accused of running a mass religious conversion racket through several organisations and schools funded by him and for receiving funding from international organisations.
He was arrested by the anti-terrorist squad of Uttar Pradesh police in September 2021. Siddiqui has also been accused of promoting enmity between different religious groups and disturbing India’s sovereignty and integrity.