Rampur Court refuses to stay conviction of Azam Khan in hate speech case

The case against Khan was registered after he allegedly made provocative remarks against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and IAS officer Aunjaneya Kumar Singh in 2019.
Samajwadi Party Leader Azam Khan
Samajwadi Party Leader Azam Khan

A Sessions Court in Uttar Pradesh's (UP) Rampur, on Thursday, refused to stay the conviction of Samajwadi Party Leader Azam Khan in a hate speech case against him which had led to his disqualification from the UP State Assembly.

Azam Khan was convicted by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, special MP/MLA Court, Rampur on October 27 in connection with inflammatory speeches made by him and sentenced to three years in prison. The UP Assembly had the very next day issued a notice stating that his constituency, the Rampur Sadar seat, stood vacated due to his conviction.

The Election Commission then issued a press release declaring the schedule for bye-elections in five assembly constituencies across various States including the Rampur constituency.

Khan then moved the Sessions Court in appeal which granted him interim bail but posted his plea for stay of conviction for November 15.

Khan then moved the Supreme Court which on Wednesday, directed the Election Commission of India to defer issuing the gazette notification for Rampur bye-election till November 11, Friday so that Khan can seek a stay on his conviction which led to his disqualification from the seat.

The Representation of the People's Act states that any person sentenced to two years or more shall be disqualified "from the date of such conviction", and not permitted to contest polls for six years after serving time in prison.

The top court also directed the Sessions Court to advance the hearing in Khan's plea for stay of conviction and dispose of the same today itself.

Pursuant to that, the Sessions Court heard the matter today before rejecting the plea.

The case against Khan was registered at Rampur on April 9 2019, for allegedly making provocative remarks against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and IAS Aunjaneya Kumar Singh, the then District Magistrate, under sections 153a and 505-1 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.

By virtue of the sentence, Khan is no longer eligible to serve in the state assembly or as a member of Parliament.

Khan was released from the Sitapur jail earlier this year after the Supreme Court granted him interim bail in an alleged cheating case. The SP leader is facing over 90 charges, including corruption and theft.

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