12 July 2022 4:22 PM GMT
In a plea filed by Samajwadi Party Leader, Azam Khan assailing the order of the Allahabad High Court, which had refused to quash chargesheet and proceedings in the birth certificate forgery case, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, wanted to have a look at the charges framed in the matter and in that regard granted time to Senior Advocate, Mr. Kapil Sibal representing Khan, to file the...
In a plea filed by Samajwadi Party Leader, Azam Khan assailing the order of the Allahabad High Court, which had refused to quash chargesheet and proceedings in the birth certificate forgery case, the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, wanted to have a look at the charges framed in the matter and in that regard granted time to Senior Advocate, Mr. Kapil Sibal representing Khan, to file the same.
A Bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath adjourned the matter until next Monday.
On the basis of a complaint, an FIR was filed against Mohd. Azam Khan and his wife at the Police Station-Ganj, District Rampur under Sections 471, 468, 467, 420 and 193 of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR alleged that pursuant to a well-planned conspiracy both the accused persons, for personal gain, got two birth certificates issued for their son. One was issued by Nagar Palika Parishad, Rampur and the other by the Lucknow Nagar Nigam.
The chargesheet was submitted against the accused under Section 420, 467, 468 and 471 IPC. The Magistrate took cognisance on 19.08.2019.
An election petition against Khan's son, on the issue of the birth certifications was allowed by the Single Judge of the High Court, which has been challenged and, at present, is pending before the Apex Court.
In the impugned order dated 17.02.2020, the High Court had noted that there was some substance in the submission of the State that case for the offences under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 I.P.C. is made out against the accused and the ingredients of Sections 463 and 464 I.P.C. are prima facie attracted against them. It held -
"The prayer for quashing the impugned charge-sheet as well as the proceedings of the entire proceedings of the aforesaid State case are refused as I do not see any abuse of the court's process at this pre-trial stage."
On Tuesday, Mr. Sibal primarily argued that the two certificates, issued by the Lucknow, Nagar Nigam and Nagar Palika Parishad, Rampur, were issued by the authorities and therefore no case of forgery can lie against Khan. He submitted -
"How can a certificate issued by an authority be forged by me? I am being prosecuted for forgery."
He added -
"I(Khan) have misused is a different matter, but not forgery."
The Bench agreed that the certificates were not issued by Khan, but it stated that the authorities must have issued them based on the misleading affidavit submitted by Khan. It reckoned -
"You are partly right that the certificates were not issued by you. But they were issued on your misrepresentation."
Mr. Sibal made his pointed argument, that provisions under which Khan was charged deals with forgery, and therefore the prosecution under the said offences cannot continue against him.
"All three offences are for forgery. All I want is for the forgery to not continue."
Assuming arguendo, that the contents of the FIR and chargesheet are true, Mr. Sibal argued a case for forgery does not hold water, when he was not the one issuing the certificates. He requested the Bench to issue notice on the limited point pertaining to the offence of forgery.
"Even if I accept what the FIR says, what the chargesheet says, but how is it forgery? You prosecute me, but not for forgery. At this date I am only on forgery. Kindly issue notice on that limited point. Nothing more.
The Bench asked him -
"Where are the charges framed?"
Responding in the affirmative, he sought time from the Court to submit the relevant documents.
"Kindly have it next week. I will give the charges framed. Kindly have it next week."
At the end, Mr. Sibal added that he would also like to raise the issue that, in the impugned order the High Court had relied on the observations in the judgment of the Single Judge in the election petition, which is pending adjudication. Justice Gupta noted that the Apex Court had dismissed the appeal in the election petition sometime in September, 2021. However, Mr. Sibal, submitted that it was dismissed on technical grounds - he was unable to connect for the virtual hearing. Upon filing an application, the matter was restored.
[Case Title: Mohanmmad Azam Khan And Ors. v. State of U.P. And Ors. SLP (Crl) No. 4498 of 2022]