LUCKNOW: In a major jolt to the Samajwadi Party, the Allahabad High Court set aside the election of Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan, son of Samajwadi Party (SP) MP Azam Khan, from Suar Tanda constituency under Rampur parliamentary segment of Uttar Pradesh on Monday.
Thus the court stripped Abdullah Azam of his UP Assembly membership by declaring his election as null and void. After the court’s judgement, the effective strength of the Samajwadi Party in the Assembly will come down to 48 of 403 seats.
Initially, the SP had won 47 seats and its tally went up to 49 after the October bypolls. Responding to the election petition filed by Nawab Kazim Ali Khan of Rampur, the high court bench comprising Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani said that Abdullah Azam Khan was less than 25 years of age while filing his nomination papers for UP Assembly elections-2017 on January 25, 2017.
He did not fulfil the age criteria while the scrutiny of his nomination papers on January 28, 2017, and also when the result of the polls was declared on March 11, 2017.
“Thus he was not qualified to fill the seat in the legislature of the state as per the provisions of Article 173 (b) of the Constitution of India. Hence, the election petition is allowed,” said Justice Kesarvani.
He added, “The election of the Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan from 34-Suar assembly constituency is declared void and consequently it is set aside.”
The court directed the Registrar General of High Court to intimate Election Commission of India about this decision and also the Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly.
Kazim Ali Khan, the petitioner in the case happened to be the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Suar assembly constituency of Rampur and had lost to Abdullah, who had fought the poll on SP ticket.
In his petition, Kazim Ali Khan, a four-time MLA from the same constituency, claimed that Abdullah was born on January 1, 1993. He was thus younger than the mandatory 25 years and did not qualify to become an MLA.
To buttress his contention, Kazim Ali cited Abdullah’s matriculation certificate where his date of birth is January 1, 1993.
According to Kazim, Abdullah filed false documents in support of his age proof - according to his educational qualification his date of birth was January 1, 1993, while the date of birth on his birth certificate produced for contesting the election, was shown as September 30, 1990.
On these grounds, the petitioner had requested the court to declare the election of Abdullah as null and void.
During the course of hearing, Abdullah’s mother and the then Rajya Sabha MP Tazeen Fatima had appeared on the court as witness claiming that her son was born on September 30, 1990, along with Dr Uma Singh, senior gynaecologist of Queen Mary’s Hospital under KG Medical University, Lucknow, who appeared in court as witness.
Dr S S Ken, one of the members of the medical team which conducted a bone ossification test of Abdullah, also testified as a witness in the case and supported the findings of the test. The court had reserved the order on September 27, 2019.