NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted protection from coercive action to Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in alleged hate speech cases lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh.

However, the court said that UP Police is not precluded from seeking sanction to prosecute him from Rajya Sabha Chairperson in the cases.

The top court also issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and sought its response on two pleas of Singh seeking clubbing and quashing of FIRs lodged against him after his press conference on August 12 last year at which he alleged that the state government was favouring a certain class of society.

During the hearing, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R S Reddy told the counsels for Singh that he cannot divide the society on lines of castes and religion.

Senior advocate Vivek Tankha and advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for Singh, said that no procedures were followed by the police in lodging the case and sanction to prosecute the Rajya Sabha MP was not taken.

The bench said that it will not get into the sanction aspect at this moment but it does not mean that no offence has been made out against Singh.

It told Tankha that the court understands that sanction to prosecute under section 197 CrPC ought to have been taken from chairperson of Rajya Sabha.

On February 2, the top court had refused to grant protection to Singh against whom a non-bailable warrant (NBW) has been issued on an FIR lodged in Lucknow.

The AAP leader has moved the apex court seeking quashing of multiple FIRs lodged against him in various districts of Uttar Pradesh after the press conference, saying they have been “maliciously instituted to unleash political vendetta”.

In a separate petition, Singh has also challenged the January 21 order of the Allahabad High Court which refused to quash the FIR in Lucknow.

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