HC relief to Azam in hate speech case, notice on office of
LUCKNOW: In a relief
to senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad
high court on Thursday refused to accept a prayer for issuing directions to
lodge an FIR against him over an alleged hate speech.
While refusing to
issue a writ of ‘quo warranto’ (right to hold an office) against Azam, the
court gave him and the state government six weeks’ time to respond whether,
being a state cabinet minister, he (Khan) could simultaneously also hold the
post of chancellor of Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University (an office of
An office of profit
means a position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or
advantage, or benefit. It may be an office or place of profit if it carries
some remuneration, financial advantage, benefit etc. The amount of such profit
A division bench of
justice Devi Prasad Singh and justice Arvind Kumar Tripathi passed the order on
a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Raza Husain and others. The court
observed that since averments related to office-of-profit made by the
petitioners were not denied by the state government, notice was being issued to
Khan as only he could file a response whether he was enjoying or not any
facility from the state or the university.
The petitioners had
also sought lodging of an FIR against Khan for an alleged hate speech by him
against a cleric. But the bench rejected the plea on the ground that the
petitioners had not approached appropriate forum (read police) in this
connection before filing the petition.
On behalf of the
state government, additional advocate general Bulbul Godiyal contended that the
petition was not maintainable and that the writ of quo warranto could not be
issued in the matter of an alleged hate speech.
The petitioners’ counsel Ashok Pande alleged that despite being a cabinet
minister, Azam was holding the post of chancellor of Jauhar University, which
is an office of profit and hence against the law.
Pande cited the
Supreme Court’s ruling in Jaya Bachchan’s case, which later led to her
(Bachchan’s) expulsion from the Rajya Sabha because she was also the
chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council, deemed an office of
He said the office of
the chancellor of the university is an office created by the state and Khan has
been appointed as chancellor by the state. In this capacity, he is entitled to
use the office, telephone, vehicle, residence and other facilities attached
with the office. He is also entitled to salary and allowances from the
petitioners’ counsel pointed out that since he (Khan) was enjoying these
facilities attached with the office, there was no doubt that the office of the
chancellor of the university was an office of profit and till such time he was
holding the post of the chancellor of the university, he was disqualified to be
chosen as member of Parliament and member of state legislature.