19 May 2022 6:02 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted interim bail to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a forgery case and directed him to file an application for regular bail before the competent court within two weeks.The interim bail will operate till the court decides the application for regular bail. If the court's decision is against the grant of regular bail, the interim bail will operate for a...
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted interim bail to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a forgery case and directed him to file an application for regular bail before the competent court within two weeks.
The interim bail will operate till the court decides the application for regular bail. If the court's decision is against the grant of regular bail, the interim bail will operate for a further period of two weeks.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna passed the order invoking the special powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.
"This is a fit case to exercise the powers under Article 142...", Justice Gavai read out the operative portion of the order. Full copy of the order is awaited.
In the writ petition filed by Azam Khan, with the prayer to grant bail had sought quashing of the proceedings registered under Section 420 and 120B IPC. The petition had also beseeched the Apex Court to issue directions to the State of U.P. to approach it before arresting Khan in future. The bench however has not considered other reliefs in the writ petition.
On several occasions, the Bench had expressed its displeasure at the inordinate delay in disposing of his bail application by the Allahabad High Court in another matter. On 06.05.2022, it had orally given an ultimatum to the High Court to pass orders. Subsequently, the High Court granted bail to Khan, but he was not released. Now, his judicial custody has been obtained till 19.05.2022, in connection to another case. The Apex Court had expressed concern about 'the coincidence' that as and when Khan is enlarged in one case, a new FIR is registered against him.
Senior Advocate, Mr. Kabil Sibal appearing on behalf of Khan argued that the new FIR is a ploy to keep Khan inordinately in jail. Per contra, the Additional Solicitor General, Mr. S.V. Raju had opposed that writ seeking bail, arguing that as per the complainant, Khan is the main accused. He submitted that there are charges of illegal land grabbing and forgery against him.
As per the ASG, the present FIR pertains to the charges of illegal land grabbing and forgery in respect to the Rampur Public School, Jauhar University Road and Topkhana. Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust runs three schools by the name of "Rampur Public School" which are all owned by Khan. He had asserted that by way of an application to the Superintendent of Police, the complainant had requested for thorough investigation into registration/affiliation documents of all the three Schools.
Around the time of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, almost 81 cases were registered against Azam Khan. On 18.03.2020, an FIR was registered alleging cheating with respect to submission of Certificate for affiliation of Rampur Public School, Yateemkhana. On 04.12.2021, Allahabad High Court reserved order in Khan's bail plea in the said matter. From Sitapur Jail, Khan had filed his nomination as a candidate for Rampur in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Election. In view of the election campaign he moved the Apex Court, on 21.01.2022, seeking grant of interim bail in 3 remaining cases, which involved charges of corruption, cheating, forgery, criminal breach of public trust, criminal conspiracy, criminal defamation, tampering of evidence and creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes. On 08.02.2022, as the matter came up before the Apex Court, it dismissed the petition, but gave liberty to Khan to approach the concerned court seeking expeditious disposal of his bail applications. Though he secured bail in two matters, the bail application reserved by the Allahabad High Court was yet to be pronounced. In view of the inexplicable delay, on 23.04.2022, Khan approached the Apex Court seeking grant of interim bail. Subsequently, the UP Government filed applications before the Allahabad High Court seeking to bring on record subsequent developments crucial to the adjudication of the bail application. On 05.05.2022, the bail application was heard and judgment was reserved by the High Court and on 10.05.2022, judgment was passed.
In the interregnum, on 06.05.2022, a press note was issued by the Rampur Police that in investigation of another criminal case, Khan's name had surfaced. While in Sitapur Jail, Khan was served with a custody warrant, on the very same day. He was produced before the Magistrate through video conferencing and was remanded to judicial custody till 19.05.2022.
Case Title: Mohammad Azam Khan v. State of U.P. WP(Crl.) No. 39 of 2022
Counsels for Azam Khan: Senior Advocate, Mr. Kapil Sibal, Advocates, Mr. Lzafeer Ahmad and Mr. Nizam Pasha
Counsel for the State : Additional Solicitor General, Mr. SV Raju
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