A sessions court in Rampur on Thursday upheld Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s hate-speech conviction by an MP/MLA court that had led to a three-year sentence and his consequent disqualification as Rampur MLA by the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Speaker.
Azam had petitioned the sessions court for a stay on his October 27 conviction and also moved the Supreme Court complaining he had been disqualified as MLA in haste, within 24 hours of his conviction, whereas another (BJP) MLA in the state had not been unseated despite being handed a two-year sentence on October 12.
On Wednesday, the apex court asked the sessions court to hear and dispose of Azam’s petition on Thursday.
The sessions court ruled that the evidence produced before the MP/MLA court justified the conviction and three-year sentence. Azam’s lawyer Jubair Khan said his client would appeal the sessions court order before Allahabad High Court.
Lawmakers sentenced to two years or more in jail are liable to lose their House seats. Azam had in the hate speech, delivered during the 2019 campaign, attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some others and urged Muslim voters to unite.