Unnao rape: How UP A-G Raghavendra Singh has become an embarrassment. But Yogi doesn't care
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, which loves to beat its own drum about the crackdown on criminals, decided to brazen it out by refusing to arrest Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bangarmau legislator and rape-accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
As CM Adityanath and the state police chief OP Singh showed no signs of embarrassment in letting the accused roam freely, Advocate-General Raghvendra Singh apparently took it as a hint to tell the Allahabad High Court that the accused won’t be arrested. Needless to say, the Court was not amused.
The Advocate-General told the Bench headed by Chief Justice Dilip B. Bhosale quite bluntly said that the accused Kuldeep Singh will not be arrested before the completion of formalities prescribed under the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C.).
Evidently displeased with Singh the Bench said, “We are constrained to record the approach and attitude of the learned Advocate General during the course of hearing, in contending that no accused person, including Kuldeep Singh, can be arrested without the Investigating Officer following the procedure prescribed under CrPC and collecting evidence in support of the allegation of rape,” the Court said.
Referring to the AG’s statement, the shocked judges said, “It is sought to be urged that the FIR has been registered by the police against Kuldeep Singh on 12 April, 2018 and that the Investigating Officer after recording statement of witnesses, including the accused and the prosecutrix under Section 161 CrPC would proceed, and on credible evidence, the accused may be arrested but as on date he submits that the accused Kuldeep Singh would not be arrested on merely registering of the FIR.”
An angry Bench tore into the AG and in a severe indictment remarked, “The approach of the learned Advocate General is not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the Court in the backdrop of the instant case.”
A former law officer said he did not recall any other advocate general of the state being rebuked by the Court in this manner. “The job of the advocate-general is to assist the court which did not appear to have been done in this case,” he said.
But this was not the first time that Advocate-General Raghvendra Singh has been pulled up by the Court. In August last year when Singh was found absent in an “important and serious” case against Adityanath, the Court not only reprimanded him but also passed restraining order against him. The Court asked the AG to remain in Allahabad for the case. A senior lawyer was unable to recall if a similar order was passed by the Court against any other advocate-general of the state.
In the same case, to the astonishment of judges, the advocate-general contradicted his colleague, additional advocate-general Manish Goel on a point of law.
Such is the AG’s attitude that even the Supreme Court indicted him and asked him to appear before it and explain why he had not been appearing when summoned by the high court.
On April 3 this year, Justice Dr Devendra Kumar Arora and Justice Virendra Kumar-II passed the following order in a service related matter, “After arguing at some length, learned Advocate General Mr. Raghvendra Singh has submitted that the order impugned in this petition will be withdrawn…”
This is what the court said when the matter again came up for hearing on April 9, “Today when the case was called on, learned Advocate General is not present. However, learned Standing Counsel submits that he has received instructions for seeking four weeks’ further time for taking steps/passing of the order.”
Before dismissing the request for more time, the upset judges said it was “unfortunate and disheartening” that the authorities have “shown scant respect to the undertaking/statement given by the learned Advocate General before the Court that the impugned order would be withdrawn …”