Minor children of UP Congress leader move SC, seek his release from jail

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Two minor children of a Congress leader, arrested in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly 'questioning the methodology' of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in handling COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference - purportedly held without permission - have moved the Supreme Court seeking his release.

The children, aged two and seven, have claimed in their plea that Amroha Police had lodged an FIR on April 11 against their father Sachin Choudhary for 'holding a press conference highlighting the infirmities in the measures taken by the state' and was later sent to judicial custody.

The matter is listed for hearing on Thursday through video-conferencing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde.

The minors, who have approached the apex court through their mother, have said that their father had served food and other necessary items to migrant labourers, who had left for their native places due to the nationwide lockdown from March 25, near the Delhi-Moradabad highway.

'Father of the petitioner is affiliated to Congress party the chief opponent of the ruling party and due to vendetta and political vengeance, he has been arrested and the registration of the FIR is stage managed,' the plea, filed through advocate Smarhar Singh, said.

The petition further alleged that Choudhary, who is in jail since April 11, 'was detained for holding a press conference and questioning the methodology of the chief minister of the state in handling the epidemic i.e. Corona'.

It claimed that even if the allegations levelled in the FIR are presumed to be true, no offence under sections 124-A (sedition) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) is made out against him.

The plea said that Choudhary, in exercise of his fundamental right and within the ethos of democratic liberty, had questioned the action of the government in the press conference. PTI ABA MNL SJK SA