SC declines interim relief to Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan in criminal case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to grant interim relief to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s son that the trial court in Uttar Pradesh be asked not to pass a final order in a pending criminal case against him till his claim of juvenility is ascertained.

The top court, on September 26, had directed the Moradabad District Judge to decide the aspect of juvenility of Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan in accordance with the procedure under the Juvenile Justice Act and send the finding to it for further consideration.

Referring to this order, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Abdullah Azam Khan, on Wednesday told a bench of Justices M M Sundresh and Prashant Kumar Mishra that till the report on juvenility is filed, the other trial court be asked not to proceed with a pending criminal case and convict the accused.

“Heavens are not going to fall if the trial court does not pass the final order… Sometimes law stands in the way of justice. This is that kind of case,” the senior advocate said.

The court, however, was not inclined to grant the relief and said: “We find no reason to pass any interim order at this stage. As per earlier order, post the main matter after the report on juvenility is filed”.

Earlier, the top court had asked the Moradabad district court to ascertain the claim of juvenility and send the report to it.

This order was passed in a 2008 criminal case in which Abdullah Azam Khan was convicted and was, consequently, disqualified as an MLA.

A criminal case was registered in 2008 against Abdullah Azam Khan and his father Azam Khan at the Chhajlet police station in Moradabad 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 (IPC). It was alleged that they had blocked traffic after their vehicle was stopped by police for checking.

In February, Abdullah Azam Khan was sentenced to two years’ in jail in the case by a Moradabad court, which led to his disqualification as an MLA in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

On May 1, the top court had sought the Uttar Pradesh government’s response to a plea moved by Abdullah Azam Khan, challenging the high court decision refusing to stay his conviction in the 15-year-old criminal case.

The top court had then clarified that the election to the Suar Assembly seat, which fell vacant after Abdullah Azam Khan’s disqualification, scheduled for May 10, shall be subject to the outcome of his petition.

Apna Dal’s Shafeek Ahmed Ansari had won the Suar seat. Abdullah Azam Khan has claimed that he was a juvenile when the incident took place.

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Rejecting his application, the high court had observed: “In fact, the applicant is trying to seek a stay of his conviction on absolutely non-existent grounds. It is a well-settled principle of law that a stay of conviction is not a rule but an exception to be resorted to in rare cases.”

“Disqualification is not limited only to MPs and MLAs. Moreover, as many as 46 criminal cases are pending against the applicant. It is now the need of the hour to have purity in politics. Representatives of people should be men of clear antecedents,” the court had observed.

The additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) sentenced the father-son duo to two years’ imprisonment and also imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 each on them on February 13. They were subsequently granted bail.

Two days after the conviction and sentence, Abdullah Azam Khan was disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

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