The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Uttar Pradesh government and Election Commission of India on a plea of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan against his disqualification from the state assembly after his conviction and three-year jail sentence in a hate speech case.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli asked Additional Advocate General Garima Prashad, appearing for Uttar Pradesh to file her response to Khan’s plea and asked his petition to be served on the standing counsel for the Election Commission.
“What was the tearing hurry to disqualify him? At least you should have given some breathing space to him”, the bench told Prashad after she said that disqualification was in accordance with direction given by the top court in one of its judgements.
At the outset, senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Khan said the BJP MLA Vikram Saini from Khatauli in Muzzaffarnagar district was also convicted on October 11 and sentenced to two years but no decision has been taken for his disqualification.
“Urgency in the matter is that Election Commission of India is going to issue gazette notification announcing bypoll for the Rampur Sadar seat on November 10”, he said.
He said that Sessions Court judge is on leave for a couple of days and the Allahabad High Court is closed, so he can’t move there against his conviction and sentence.
The bench then asked Prasad that why no action has been taken in the case of Khatauli assembly seat.
It posted the matter for hearing on November 13 and asked Prashad to seek instruction and file her reply.
On October 27, Khan was convicted in a hate speech case and sent to three years in jail by a Rampur court.
The MP-MLA court in Rampur has also granted bail to the MLA in the 2019 case.
On October 28, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Secretariat had announced the disqualification of Khan from the House, a day after a court sentenced him to three years in jail in a hate speech case.
Principal Secretary of the UP Legislative Assembly had said that the Assembly Secretariat declared the Rampur Sadar Assembly seat as vacant.