SC directs Punjab to hand over custody of Ansari to UP police

SC directs Punjab to hand over custody of Ansari to UP police

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday directed the Punjab government to hand over the custody of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is lodged in Rupnagar jail there, to Uttar Pradesh Police, saying the custody was being denied on trivial grounds under guise of medical issues.

The apex court said a convict or an undertrial prisoner, who disobeys the law of the land, cannot oppose his transfer from one prison to another and the courts are not to be a helpless bystander when the rule of law is being challenged with impunity.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R S Reddy said the custody of Ansari, an MLA from Mau constituency, be handed over to Uttar Pradesh within two weeks so as to lodge him in District Jail, Banda in UP.

The bench said it was open for the special court, constituted for MPs/MLAs at Allahabad, to continue him either in the District Jail at Banda or shift to any other prison in the state, if any need arises.

There shall be a direction to the Superintendent of Jail, District Jail Banda, Uttar Pradesh to extend the necessary medical facilities to the 3rd respondent (Ansari). It is made clear that if any specialty treatment is required to the 3rd respondent, the Jail Superintendent of District Jail, Banda, Uttar Pradesh shall take necessary steps to extend such medical care also, by following the Jail Manual, it said.

The court, which held the UP government's plea to be maintainable, however, refused to transfer a criminal case pending against Ansari in Punjab's Mohali to UP and said the matter is at the stage of investigation.

At the same time, in exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, we issue directions, directing the respondent nos. 1 & 2 (Jail Superintendent of Rupnagar and State of Punjab), to handover custody of the 3rd respondent to the State of Uttar Pradesh, within a period of two weeks from today, so as to lodge him in District Jail, Banda in the State of Uttar Pradesh, the bench said in its 56-page order.

The top court also dismissed a plea by Ansari seeking transfer of cases lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh to some other place outside the state.

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