26 Sep 2023 3:42 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (26.09.2023) directed the District Judge, Rampur to submit a report regarding the date of birth of Samajwadi Party leader Mohammed Abdullah Azam Khan while hearing his plea to stay the conviction in a case, which resulted in his disqualification as a member of the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly. In February this year, Khan was convicted for an offence during...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (26.09.2023) directed the District Judge, Rampur to submit a report regarding the date of birth of Samajwadi Party leader Mohammed Abdullah Azam Khan while hearing his plea to stay the conviction in a case, which resulted in his disqualification as a member of the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly.
In February this year, Khan was convicted for an offence during a dharna staged along with his father fifteen years ago. It was alleged they had blocked traffic after their vehicle was stopped by the police for checking. The trial court sentenced him to two years imprisonment for the offence under Section 353 IPC (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his duty). It is Khan’s case that he was a juvenile (15 years old) merely accompanying his father.
He had approached the Supreme Court after the Allahabad High Court on April 14 dismissed his plea to stay the conviction.
“Considering that the date of birth of petitioner is relevant for accurate consideration of the issues raised in the writ. Appropriate finding is necessary on that aspect. Hence the question relating to the correct date of birth of the petitioner is referred to the learned district judge, Rampur, who shall provide opportunities to the parties to render a finding on that aspect in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act and send its finding to this court for further consideration in the matter.” a bench of Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh stated in its order today.
“There is a judgment of this Court, that says I was under 25. The state took a position in the High Court that I was born in 1993. How can the state change its position now? I lost my election on that ground, now I’m being prosecuted. They can’t have a third date of birth. I have a mother who said I was born on such and such date, and the doctor who delivered the baby said I was born on this day.” Sr. Adv. Kapil Sibal appearing for Khan argued. “He has been given a maximum sentence of two years. Sentence has been suspended, but I am raising an issue on the conviction” he added.
In a previous hearing it was argued on behalf of Khan that in a recent judgment of the Apex Court, it has opined on the age of Abdullah Khan. Sibal was referrring to the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in November 2022 to uphold the disqualification of the former legislator (in the 2017-22 assembly term) for not having attained the minimum qualifying age on the date of the election. As per the age indicated by the Supreme Court, on the date of commission of the offence which was 15 years back, Khan was a juvenile (15 years old). It was contended that the Trial Court was made aware of this order of the Supreme Court. On the basis of the same the plea of juvenility was claimed. However, the Trial Court rejected the plea stating sufficient documents in this regard were not produced by Khan.
On 15th February, 2023, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Secretariat declared the seat represented by Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Abdullah Azam Khan as ‘vacant’ two days after Abdullah was convicted in a 15-year-old case by the Moradabad Court to two years in prison.
Abdullah, who represented the Suar Assembly constituency, is the son of the veteran leader of the Samajwadi Party, Azam Khan.
The case against Abdullah was registered in the year 2008 for staging a dharna (protest) on the state highway after their cavalcade was stopped by police for checking in the wake of an attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur.
Both son and father were booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code.
It may be noted that this is the second time that he has been disqualified from the UP Legislative Assembly membership.
Earlier, his election from the Suar Constituency (in 2017 state assembly elections) was invalidated by the Allahabad HC on the ground that he was below 25 years of age at the time of filing the nomination, on the date of scrutiny of the nomination paper, and on the date of declaration of results.
Case Title: Case Title: Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan v. State of UP, Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No. 5216/2023
Click Here To Read/Download Order