Under the law, called the Uttar Pradesh Criminal Law (Composition of Offences and Abatement of Trials) (Amendment) Act, 2017, 20,000 cases against politicians will be withdrawn. "These 20,000 cases are not serious and have been pending for a very long time," the chief minister had said on Friday last.
The case against Yogi Adityanath involves flouting prohibitory orders to hold a public meeting in his home turf Gorakhpur in 1995. Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla and BJP lawmaker Sheetal Pandey were also named as accused in the case.
"It has started with Yogi Adityanath and now, all politicians are hoping that their cases will be withdrawn," said Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, who was chief minister before Yogi Adityanath took over.
"It remains to be seen if it is going to be just 'inconsequential cases' as the chief minister puts it, or will the government also withdraws serious cases," said Mr Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party opposed the bill in the assembly. The BJP has a massive majority in the UP assembly after sweeping elections in the state earlier this year, and can easily push legislation.
Ahead of the assembly elections, the BJP had dubbed Akhilesh Yadav's government as "goonda raj" (reign of criminals) and had powered to victory with a key promise of restoring law and order.
Uttar Pradesh has been one of the states known for a high percentage of legislators who have criminal cases -- including that of murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women -- against them. A report in March this year by election monitoring group ADR said that out of 402 legislators in the state then, 143 or 36 per cent MLAs have criminal cases.