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Allahabad HC stays criminal proceedings against Akhilesh Yadav

In a recent development, the Allahabad High Court has issued a stay on the legal actions being taken against Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. These proceedings were initiated due to an alleged breach of the model code of conduct and COVID-19 regulations back in 2022.

Justice Raj Beer Singh has issued an order to halt the case against Yadav and has instructed the State government to present its response regarding the matter within the next four weeks. Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary is also a co-accused in the case.

The case revolves around accusations that during an election rally in 2022, the Samajwadi Party leader, along with Chaudhary and approximately 300-400 unidentified individuals, congregated on February 3, 2022, allegedly violating COVID-19 guidelines and the prescribed model code of conduct.

Yadav and Chaudhary faced charges under Sections 188 (disobeying an order given by a public servant), 269 (negligent acts likely to spread dangerous infections), and 270 (malignant acts likely to spread dangerous infections) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with Sections 3 and 4 of the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Following their summons to a trial court, Yadav sought relief by approaching the High Court. His plea not only contested the summons but also requested the Court to dismiss the criminal case against him. In the plea presented to the High Court, Yadav argued that he had notified the district administration before his visit to the area for an election campaign. His legal representative emphasized that it was the responsibility of the district administration and the police to manage the public gathering.

Additionally, it was asserted that the vehicle used for travel accommodated only five seats, and Yadav was not afflicted with COVID-19 or any other contagious ailment at the time of the gathering. Hence, the counsel argued, Yadav did not breach any COVID-19 protocols nor negligently contribute to spreading the infection. Opposing Yadav's plea, the State contended that there was a prima facie case against him.

After reviewing both sides' arguments, the Court found it necessary to delve into the matter further. As a result, it instructed the State to present its response and, in the interim, halted the trial court proceedings.


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