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SC to take up disqualified SP MLA’s plea over stay on conviction on April 5

The Supreme Court will take up disqualified Samajwadi Party assembly member Abdullah Azam Khan’s petition related to a stay on his conviction on April 5 even as the Election Commission of India (ECI) has scheduled the by-poll to the Suar seat in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur he represented.

A bench of justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna on Wednesday ordered serving a copy of the petition to Uttar Pradesh.

Khan moved the court over his conviction in a 2008 case in which he was found guilty under Indian Penal Code’s Section 353 related to assaulting or using criminal force against a public servant. A trial court sentenced him to two-year imprisonment, the maximum punishment under this provision on February 13.

Khan was disqualified from the state assembly two days after the conviction. On Wednesday, the ECI announced the by-poll for his vacant seat will be held on April 13.

Senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who represented Khan, argued the conviction cannot be sustained as his client was just 15 years old in 2018. “I could not be convicted,” Tankha said.

In his petition, Khan said his conviction requires to be stayed as it will lead to his irreversible unseating as a lawmaker which cannot be undone even if the conviction is to be finally overturned.

A sessions court refused to stay Khan’s conviction on February 28 and prompted him to move the Allahabad high court. On March 17, the high court issued a notice asking the Uttar Pradesh government to respond to Khan’s plea. Khan later moved the Supreme Court against the direction.

The Supreme Court asked Khan to apprise the high court of the ECI’s move to seek an early hearing on his petition.

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