A case had been registered against the Chandrayangutta MLA over a speech at a public meeting in Hyderabad during election campaigning in 2004.

Akbaruddin Owaisi speaking into a mic and addressing a gatheringFile photo: Facebook/Akbaruddin Owaisi
news Court Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 08:54

A special court in Hyderabad has acquitted  All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Akbaruddin Owaisi in a "hate" speech case registered against him in 2004. The Special Sessions Court for trial of MPs/MLAs on Tuesday, November 16, found Owaisi not guilty of the offences and allegations against him and acquitted him.

A case was registered under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against him on a complaint from a police official, who alleged that the Chandrayangutta legislator made an inflammatory speech at a public meeting in Hyderabad during election campaigning in 2004 and tried to instigate the public. The case was registered under Section 153(A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC and Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.

Subsequently a chargesheet was filed by police after getting the government's nod to prosecute Owaisi. After hearing arguments and counter arguments, the court acquitted Owaisi for lack of evidence as no independent witness supported the case.

As per his 2018 affidavit, the Chandrayangutta MLA has 14 criminal cases registered against him which include charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings, criminal intimidation, statements conducing to public mischief, assertions prejudicial to national integration and sedition.

However, the case that garnered the most attention is from 2012. On December 22 that year, Owaisi had addressed a massive rally in (then Andhra Pradesh's) Nirmal town, where he had made a comment about "removing the police for 15 minutes off the streets", suggesting that violence would erupt between Hindus and Muslims. In that case, he was arrested in January 2013 on charges of hate speech, and granted conditional bail after spending over a month in prison.

With PTI inputs