Law & Judiciary

    SC stays operation of NBW issued against cleric Tauqeer Raza Khan in 2010 Bareilly riots case

    The Hawk
    April11/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Supreme Court halts execution of a non-bailable warrant against Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, linked to 2010 Bareilly riots, spotlighting judicial conduct and the intersection of religion and governance in India.

    Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan

    New Delhi: In a relief to prominent Muslim cleric, Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, the Supreme Court has granted an interim stay on the execution of the non-bailable warrant issued against him in the 2010 Bareilly communal riots case.

    On March 2, 2010, riots had broken out in the Uttar Pradesh town over a religious procession route. Many were injured and shops and vehicles burned and attacked.

    "Issue notice limited to the impugned order having been passed without assigning any reason. In the meanwhile, there shall be stay of operation of the impugned order," a bench of Justices MM Sundresh and SVN Bhatti ordered after taking note of the submissions made by lawyer Asad Alvi, appearing for the cleric.

    The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the cleric against the March 19 order of the Allahabad High Court.

    The high court had refused to grant any "indulgence" for the time being to Tauqeer Raza Khan over the warrant.

    "So far as a non-bailable warrant against the revisionist (the cleric) is concerned, I am not inclined to grant any indulgence to the revisionist at this stage."

    "However, keeping in view the ensuing Holi vacations, the revisionist is directed to appear before the learned trial court on or before March 27, 2024 and apply for bail and his bail application shall be disposed of strictly in accordance with law. It need not be impressed that a non-bailable warrant shall not be executed against him by March 27, 2024 only with a view to give him an opportunity to appear before the court below," the single judge HC bench of Justice Ram Manohar Narayan Mishra had ordered.

    The top court took note of the submissions of Alvi that the high court had passed the order without assigning reasons and granted the interim stay.

    Initially, the state police had arrested Khan and others but did not file a chargesheet against him.

    On March 5, the local trial court had issued summons to the cleric.

    It had observed that those in positions of power should be "religious persons" and referred to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as an example.

    The trial court had said if a religious person heads the state, he gets good results, as propounded by Greek philosopher Plato in his book the "Philosopher King".

    "Those wielding power (satta ka pramukh) should be a religious person, because the life of a religious person is not of enjoyment but of sacrifice and dedication. For example, the Siddha Peeth Gorakhnath Temple's peethadheeshwar Mahant Baba Yogi Adityanath, who is presently Chief Minister of our Uttar Pradesh, has proved the above concept to be true," the trial court judge had said.

    When Tauqeer Raza Khan did not appear before the trial court on the fixed date, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him.

    The Allahabad High Court took note of Khan's appeal and ordered expunction of remarks including the reference to the CM in the trial court order.

    "I have gone through the order under challenged whereby learned trial court while passing the impugned order mentioned certain unwarranted expressions containing political overtones and personal views."

    "Besides this, he has also shared his personal experiences in the said order, which is not at all required while passing judicial order. It is not expected from the judicial officer to express or depict his personal or preconceived notions or inclinations in the matter. The judicial order is meant for public consumption and such type of order is likely to be misconstrued by the masses," it said.

    The high court did not grant Khan the relief he had sought over the non-bailable warrant.

    The Uttar Pradesh government had told the high court that Khan was "the mastermind of communal riots which took place on March 2, 2010 in district Bareilly and there is sufficient evidence against him showing his complicity in the offence".