The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government seeking its direction to transfer Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Mukhtar Ansari from Ropar Jail in Punjab, where he is currently lodged, to Ghazipur Jail, Live Law reported.
The Uttar Pradesh government had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court for his transfer, suggesting that many serious offences were pending against the gangster-turned-politician. In its petition, the Uttar Pradesh government argued that Ansari’s appearance in the court was crucial for these cases, Live Law reported.
However, Ansari had filed a counter-affidavit in the matter contesting the maintainability of the petition. He contended that a state has no fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution, and one state cannot prosecute another one in a writ petition under Article 32.
During Thursday’s hearing, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the state of Punjab, said that the state did not care about Ansari but granting the transfer on basis of the petition filed by Uttar Pradesh will “not only rewrite the Constitution, but also open a Pandora’s box in the future”, Live Law reported.
“For any state to come forth and state their rights need to be reinforced against another state, that would completely turn the scheme upside down,” Dave argued.
He also pointed out that cases lodged against Ansari in Uttar Pradesh had been going on for 15 years, while those in Punjab were recent ones.
Meanwhile, appearing for Ansari, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi also argued that Article 32 could only be moved by a citizen whose fundamental rights had been violated and not by a state. He also contended that the plea moved by Uttar Pradesh was “politically motivated” as Ansari belongs to an Opposition party in the state.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, agreed that a state does not have fundamental rights but it represents the citizens and victims, Live Law reported. “I represent the citizens, I represent the society,” he told the court. “I have a duty to them.”
He further countered Punjab’s submission to conduct Ansari’s trials through videoconferencing, The Hindu reported.
“If videoconferencing is the only mode of trial and accused can appear from anywhere, then Vijay Mallya can appear from anywhere,” he said.