The Supreme Court noted that it was not fair to keep a person in custody when both the prosecution and defendant had evidence to show.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan and his son Mohammad Abdullah Azam Khan in an alleged forgery case, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna directed that the two should be released after a trial court in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur records Azam Khan’s statement on the matter within four weeks.
The case was filed based on a complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Akash Saxena after Abdullah was elected from Suar constituency of Uttar Pradesh, the Hindustan Times reported.
The two men were accused of forging Abdullah Azam Khan’s age to make him eligible to contest the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. A person becomes eligible to contest Assembly elections at the age of 25.
Saxena alleged that Abdullah’s educational certificates showed his date of birth as January 1, 1993. However, municipal body Lucknow Nagar Nigam issued him a fresh birth certificate bearing the date September 30, 1991, to make him eligible to contest the elections, the prosecution alleged, according to LiveLaw. The two were also accused of forging Abdullah’s PAN card and passport to establish the changed date of birth.
The charges against them include cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.
In November, the Allahabad High Court had rejected a bail plea moved by Azam Khan and his son. The Samajwadi Party MP then challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court.
In Tuesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court noted that Azam Khan had been arrested in the case in February 2020 and the chargesheet had also been filed in May last year. The court observed that the case was based on documentary evidence.
“Is it fair to keep a person in custody when there is evidence on both sides?” the court asked. “Already the courts are overflowing with cases, and delay is a systematic problem unless you can assure that the trial will be completed within a fixed time.”