The Rampur Sessions Court on Thursday dismissed the plea of senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan seeking a stay on his conviction in the hate speech case that led to his disqualification from the Assembly. The court order has paved the way for the bypoll in the Rampur Sadar Assembly seat to be held on December 5, although Mr. Khan plans to appeal the decision.
Special Judge Alok Dubey heard Mr. Khan’s plea on the direction of the Supreme Court, which had also asked the Election Commission not to issue the bypoll notification for the Rampur Sadar Assembly seat till November 10.
Mr. Khan’s advocate Safdar Kazmi said that they had sought a suspension of the order but the judge felt otherwise. “We will approach the Allahabad High Court and hope that we get relief,” he told The Hindu.
Mr. Kazmi argued that there was an ambiguity in the Supreme Court judgment of 2013 as it didn’t say anything about the statutory 30-day period to appeal against an order. “The EC is well within its rights to move ahead with the bypoll but what if we get relief from a higher court,” he said.
Mr. Khan had approached the Apex Court challenging the bye-election of the Rampur Sadar seat, arguing that such a move was not proper when his plea against conviction was pending in the Sessions court. His lawyers had described the hurry in declaring the seat vacant as a politically motivated move.
A Rampur court found Mr. Khan guilty in a 2019 hate speech case last month, and awarded him a three-year jail term for making provocative remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and the then-district magistrate of Rampur, Aunjaneya K. Singh.