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UP riots: Allahabd HC stays cop’s supension, sends notice to Azam

The Allahabad high court on Thursday stayed the suspension of a senior police official in connection with Muzaffarnagar riots while issuing notice to UP Cabinet minister Azam Khan.

The court also declined to vacate the stay on transfer of seven constables who had alleged that they were shifted out of the district following Khan’s orders.

A Division Bench comprising justices Rajes Kumar and Mahesh Chandra Tripathi stayed the suspension of deputy superintendent of police Arun Sirohi, who was posted as Circle Officer of Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar while the district was ravaged by communal riots recently.

Sirohi had challenged the order of his suspension dated 14 September passed by the Principal Secretary (Home) alleging that the action was ‘mala fide’ and taken at the instance of Azam Khan.
The court asked Khan and the state government to file counter affidavits and listed the case for further hearing after six weeks.

Meanwhile, a single bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal refused to vacate its stay on the transfer of Pankaj Kumar and six other constables who had been posted at Muzaffarnagar before being shifted through orders on 13 and 22 September to various parts of the state.

Justice Agarwal rejected an application filed by the state government to vacate the stay order passed on 30 September.

The constables had alleged that their transfers were the result of a ‘policy’ to move Jat policemen away from western UP as per “directions issued by the cabinet minister (Khan)’ .

Fixing 22 October as the next date of hearing in the matter, the court asked the petitioners to file their rejoinder to the counter affidavit submitted by the state government within a week.

The court also asked Khan, who had been issued a notice in the matter on 30 September, to file his counter affidavit by the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, a special appeal filed by the state government challenging the 30 September order was disposed of, with grant of partial relief, by a division bench comprising Justices Sheo Kumar Singh and Brijesh Kumar Srivastava.

The bench struck down a portion of the order whereby it had been ruled that if the constables were relieved but had not joined at their new places of posting, they be allowed to stay at Muzaffarnagar and receive their salaries.

The Division Bench, however, made it clear that it intended not to take any exception to the stay on transfers granted by the single judge and that its directions had ‘nothing to do with merits’ of the impugned order.
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