On 20 April,The Supreme Court referred to a five-judge constitution bench the matter which involves whether a minister can claim under the right to 'freedom of speech' to speak contrary to the Central Government's statute and policy.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, was hearing the case involving then Uttar Pradesh Minister and senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan's alleged statement terming the Bulandshahr gang rape case as a 'political conspiracy' to defame the former Samajwadi Party government.
Amicus Curiae in the apex court had claimed that the ministers are bound by constitutional mandate of collective responsibility and can't speak contrary to govt policy.
Earlier in December, the apex court had accepted the unconditional apology tendered by Khan in connection with the Bulandshahr gang-rape case.
Earlier, the court lifted its order staying the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Bulandshahr gang rape case.
The apex court modified its order after the investigative agency, moved to the court asking to vacate its stay on the ongoing probe.
The incident took place earlier on the intervening night of 29-30 July when a 35-year-old woman and her daughter were allegedly gang-raped by a group of robbers in Bulandshahr district.
The victims were on their way from Noida to Shahjahanpur with the other family members when their vehicle was stopped near a cycle repairing shop in Dostpur village on NH-9, which connects Noida and Bulandshahr.