SP Leader Azam Khan Sentenced to Three Years in Prison, Fined Rs. 6,000 by MP/MLA Court in Rampur

AZAM KHAN Law Insider

Tanisha Rana

Published on: October 28, 2022 at 20:03 IST

Azam Khan, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader, was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 6,000 rupees by the Special MP/MLA court in Rampur on Thursday.

The court also gave Khan seven days to appeal the verdict to apex court. Due to his prison sentence, Khan, an SP MLA from Rampur, may lose his right to vote in the assembly.

Azam Khan criticised the then-Rampur District Magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh, the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Congress candidate Sanjay Kapoor harshly during the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign.

The judgment was delivered in front of Azam Khan by Assistant Chief Judicial Magistrate (MP/MLA court) Nishant Maan.

“This was the maximum punishment in this case and bail was a mandatory provision,” Azam Khan said to the media outside the court.

“I have firm belief in justice,” he said.

With this conviction, Azam Khan, who has won 10 elections to the Uttar Pradesh assembly from Rampur, deflected all inquiries about perhaps losing his seat.

According to the Representation of the People Act, anyone who receives a sentence of two years or more in prison is prohibited from running for office “from the date of such conviction” and is also prohibited for a further six years after serving their term.

The Speaker may initiate the disqualification process either on their own initiative or in response to an application.

The Rampur court found Khan guilty of violating Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A (inciting religious emotions) and 505-A (making a false statement designed to incite enmity or hostility).

Additionally, he was found guilty of violating Representation of the People Act Section 125, which prohibits “raising animosity between different classes.”

“After conviction by the trial court and pronouncement of prison term of two years or more, an MLA or MP loses membership of the state assembly or Parliament as the case may be,” said Gyan Singh Chauhan, senior advocate of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court.

On April 9, 2019, a complaint over Azam Khan’s offensive statement was made by Akash SaxenaBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, at the Milak Kotwali police station in Rampur.

Khan was arrested for delivering the hate speech at a public gathering in the village of Khatanagaria in the Milak Kotwali region.

On social media, the speech had become very popular.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election in Rampur was won by Azam Khan. After winning a seat in the state legislature in March 2022, he gave up his Lok Sabha seat.

Azam Khan, who was imprisoned in Sitapur Prison, had triumphed in the 2022 Assembly Election from Rampur.

Keshav Prasad Maurya, the Deputy Chief Minister, applauded the court’s ruling and urged political figures to exercise restraint when criticising others.

He stated that Azam Khan had a “political history of giving poisonous speeches against the BJP and society.”

“Azam Khan is getting paid for his deeds. When the Samajwadi Party was in power, Azam Khan had committed atrocities. Now, he will be brought to justice,” said BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi.

“Won’t comment on the verdict. But many top BJP leaders during the polls had made hate speeches. None faced such consequences. Azam Khan saab had been a victim of injustice and vendetta politics,” said a senior SP leader requesting not to be named.

Azam Khan was given interim bail by the Supreme Court in a case involving cheating, and he was subsequently freed from prison earlier this year. He was imprisoned for about two years.

The Samajwadi Party leader is accused in over 90 cases, including one involving theft and corruption.

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