The Supreme Court has granted Anticipatory Bail to Umar Ansari, son of late gangster Mukhtar Ansari, in a case registered against him in Uttar Pradesh related to an event where his elder brother, Abbas Ansari, made a statement during his election campaign against the public authorities.

The allegation was that they gathered at Pahadpura ground, made statements on stage about settling accounts with the Mau District Administration after the election, breaching the code of conduct and violating Sections 171-F and 506 of the IPC.

The Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra said, "Having regard to the circumstances and particularly the fact that the offending statement is not attributed to the Petitioner but to his brother (Abbas Ansari) during Assembly Election time and having considered that the co-accused have been granted bail... we deem it fit to grant relief in the present matter."

The Court clarified that Ansari should appear before the Trial Court and should participate in the trial. "However, it is made clear that the Petitioner must appear before the Court and should participate in the trial," the Bench said.

At the outset, Additional Advocate General (AAG) Garima Prasad, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh, submitted that the two other co-accused had been granted regular Bail upon their surrendering to the Trial Court. "Lordship, he (Umar Ansari) is to only surrender before the Trial Court and apply for regular bail," she added.

AAG Prasad further submitted that they were inciting 150 people and the speech was being made in violation of the Election. Referring to the Ansari's conduct on forum shopping, the AAG submitted, "This chargesheet was filed in May 2022; after that, several summons have been issued to the Petitioner; he did not appear, bailable warrants were issued; he did not appear, non-bailable warrants were issued on many occasions; he did not appear. Finally Section 80 CrPC proceedings were also initiated. In the meanwhile, he had filed for Anticipatory Bail in Hon'ble High Court, withdraws it after some time and files another second Anticipatory Bail Application, gets some interim relief, however, it (interim relief) did not say do not appear before Trial Court....he filed a Section 482 Petition for quashing, that got dismissed by the High Court and this Hon'ble Court."

The AAG highlighted Ansari's criminal antecedents. She further pointed out that he and his brother (Abbas Ansari) are all sons of the late gangster Mukhtar Ansari. "At this stage, he should surrender before the Trial Court. For the past 2 years the process has not been able to start only because he is not co-operating," the AAG contended.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Umar Ansari, contended, "This is a matter in which the man accused was on the stage; he never uttered anything and in all the other cases, he is either granted Bail or no coercive steps. Indeed, there is no case against me, because I never uttered anything."

"I have appeared before the Trial Court, I have filed Bail bonds before the Trial Court. They have never called me for an investigation," Sibal submitted. He contended that the allegation that Ansari is not cooperating is very unfair.

Taking note of the submissions, the Bench granted Umar Ansari Anticipatory Bail on furnishing a Bail bond of Rs. 20,000.

Earlier, in July 2023, the Court dismissed Ansari's plea, wherein he had sought the quashing of a hate speech case registered against him in Uttar Pradesh related to an event where his elder brother, Abbas Ansari, made a statement during his election campaign against the public authorities.

Justice Roy had expressed his disinclination to entertain the SLP, remarking, "We cannot deal with the quashing of this case. When the High Court has declined to interfere, the Supreme Court will not entertain such a petition."

The FIR in question came to be registered after Abbas Ansari, the elder brother of Umar Ansari, made a statement in a public meeting during his election campaign for Member of the Legislative Assembly from Mau Sadar Constituency that "समाजवादी पार्टी के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष श्री अखिलेश यादव जी से यह कहकर आया हूँ कि 6 महीने तक किसी का ट्रान्सफर पोस्टिंग नहीं होगी। भइया जो यहां है वो यहां ही रहेगा पहले हिसाब किताब होगा उसके बाद उसके जाने के सर्टीफिकेट पर मुहर लगाया जायेगा।" (I have come here after telling the National President of Samajwadi Party, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, that there will be no transfer posting for six months. The one who is here will remain here, first the accounts will be settled, after that his departure certificate will be stamped.)

The Allahabad High Court had while dismissing the Petition noted that, "Considering the context and the intention with which the offending words were spoken in a public meeting, at this stage it cannot be said that the offence under Section 153-A IPC is not attracted against the petitioners. The scope of power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is limited, and it should be exercised in exceptional cases where the complaint or charge sheet does not disclose any offence. Whether the offence under Section 153-A IPC gets attracted or not, would depend on the quality of evidence lead by the prosecution during trial. However, at this stage, this Court does not find any ground to interfere with the ongoing proceedings or the charge sheet."

In a related news, in October 2023, the Court had allowed Anticipatory Bail to Umar Ansari, in a case wherein he had been accused of taking illegal possession of an evacuee property owned by the Uttar Pradesh Government through their influence. The U.P. Police had registered a case under Sections 120-B, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the I.P.C., and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 against Abbas Ansari, Umar Ansari, and Mukhtar Ansari. The F.I.R. stated that from a perusal of the records it transpired that the original Khataunis relating to the years 1371 Fasli to 1374 Fasli have been made to disappear so that the entry recorded on the basis of forged documents could not come to light.

On July 17, 2023, the Apex Court had granted Umar Ansari interim protection against arrest, contingent upon his active participation in the ongoing legal proceedings. Prior to this, the Allahabad High Court had rejected his anticipatory bail application. In response to this decision, Umar Ansari had sought relief from the Apex Court.

The High Court in its Order had noted that the charge-sheet alleges that during investigation it has been found that the Application submitted to the L.D.A. for getting a building-plan sanctioned, bears the signatures of the applicant's grandmother in Hindi, whereas at no other place she used to sign in Hindi. It was also noted that Umar Ansari's grandmother either signed in Urdu or put her thumb-impression and the investigating officer has concluded that the aforesaid document was a forged document.

The The High Court had found that Umar is one of the beneficiaries of the alleged forgery and he has been charged for committing the offence of criminal conspiracy as well. In light of the same observations, the High Court did not find any good ground to exercise its discretion in favour of Umar by granting him Anticipatory Bail and had accordingly dismissed the application.

Cause Title: Umar Ansari v. State of Uttar Pradesh [SLP (Crl) No. 819/2024]