Wednesday, April 24, 2024

SC to hear Abdullah Azam Khan’s plea to stay conviction which led to disqualification as MLA

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, agreed to take up the plea filed by Samajwadi Party’s Mohammed Abdullah Azam Khan, who has now been disqualified from Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly after he was convicted and sentenced to 2 year imprisonment in a 15-year-old case.

“We will take it up on the 5th (5th April, 2023),” the top court said after briefly hearing the Senior Lawyer appearing for Khan, Live Law reported.

Khan has filed a petition with the Apex Court seeking to halt his conviction. He had previously appealed to the Allahabad High Court, but when the case was heard on March 17, 2023, the High Court postponed the hearing for three weeks and did not grant a stay. As a result, Khan was concerned that the election process for his vacant seat could be announced at any time since he had already been disqualified.

During a hearing before a bench consisting of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna, Khan’s Senior Counsel informed them that on March 29, 2023, the Election Commission announced that the election process would begin on April 13, 2023.

The argument put forward was that Khan was convicted for an offense in 2008 while accompanying his father Azam Khan, who was sitting on a dharna at the time. The police registered a case against Abdullah Khan, who was a juvenile at the time. However, the Trial Court sentenced him to the maximum term of two years. The Senior Counsel stated that the following day, Khan was disqualified from the Assembly and his seat was declared vacant.

Abdullah Khan, who represented the Suar Assembly constituency, is the son of the veteran leader of the Samajwadi Party, Azam Khan.

This is the second time that Abdullah Azam was disqualified from the Assembly. The young SP leader was earlier disqualified from the Assembly in 2020 after the Allahabad High Court had set aside his election. The High Court had disqualified him as he was below 25 years of age when he had filed his nomination papers as the SP candidate from Suar in 2017.

This is also the second case in which veteran leader and Abdullah Azam’s father Azam Khan has been convicted. In October last year, he was convicted to three years’ imprisonment in a hate speech case lodged during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. After the verdict, the Rampur Assembly seat, which he represented, was declared vacant.

Azam Khan family and SP have been alleging that they were targeted by Yogi Adityanath government over their criticisms against the Hindu nationalist government.

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