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2019 Hate Speech Case: Allahabad High Court Issues Notice To SP Leader Azam Khan In UP Govt’s Appeal Challenging His Acquittal

CASE TITLE:  State of U.P. vs. Mohammad Azam Khan S/O Mohammad Mumtaj Khan [GOVERNMENT APPEAL No. – 339 of 2023]

DECIDED ON: 03.08.2023

CORAM: Hon’ble Raj Beer Singh,J.

APPELLANT: – State of U.P.

RESPONDENT: – Mohammad Azam Khan S/O Mohammad Mumtaj Khan

COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: – Ashutosh Kumar Sand

INTRODUCTION:

The Allahabad High Court has served a notice to Azam Khan, a leader from the Samajwadi Party, in response to the Uttar Pradesh Government’s appeal against a Rampur Court’s decision to acquit Khan in a hate speech case from 2019. The hate speech incident resulted in his disqualification as an MLA the previous year. The bench, presided by Justice Raj Beer Singh, heard the appeal on Thursday and has requested the trial court’s records, along with the appellate records. The case will be further heard on September 27, 2023.

FACTS:

In May of this year, the Additional District and Sessions Judge Amitveer Singh overturned an October 2022 verdict from a special MP/MLA court in Rampur district, which had sentenced Azam Khan to three years in prison. The conviction stemmed from Khan’s provocative remarks against the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, and the then DM of Rampur, Aunjaneya K. Singh, during the campaigning of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. The Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate found him guilty of offenses under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) of IPC, and Section 125 of the Representation of People Act 1951. An FIR was lodged against Khan after the returning officer took cognizance of the matter upon receiving a complaint.

CASE ANALYSIS AND DECISION:

Following his conviction in the case, Khan faced disqualification as a member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in accordance with the Representation of the People Act. Consequently, a by-poll was held, and the BJP’s Akash Saxena emerged victorious in the election last year.

However, Khan appealed the verdict, and the Additional District and Sessions Judge subsequently acquitted him. In response to this acquittal, the Uttar Pradesh Government has taken the matter to the High Court, challenging the ADJ’s order.

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Written by- Mansi Malpani