The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear on May 17 a plea by a candidate of the SP-BSP alliance from Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh seeking protection from arrest in a rape case lodged against him. The matter was mentioned before a vacation bench of justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna by the counsel appearing for petitioner Atul Rai, who is accused of raping a college student from Varanasi.
Rai's counsel told the apex court that Rai was contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Ghosi constituency, where polling is scheduled to take place on May 19 in the last phase, and he should be granted protection from arrest till May 23 when the results of the general elections will be announced. "Registration of an FIR does not bar you for contesting the elections," the bench told Rai's counsel.
To this, the lawyer said there was no provision of anticipatory bail in Uttar Pradesh and since the high court had on May 8 dismissed Rai's petition seeking protection, he may be arrested in the case. The bench agreed to hear Rai's plea on May 17.
An FIR was registered against Rai on May 1 on a complaint by a college student who had alleged that he took her home on the pretext of meeting his wife but later assaulted her. The SP-BSP alliance candidate, who has denied the rape charges, has been on a run since lodging of FIR.
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