MOHAMMAD AZAM KHAN VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH

MOHAMMAD AZAM KHAN VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH


Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION 
I.A. NO.71580 OF 2022 
IN/AND 
M.A. NO.766 OF 2022
IN
WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO.39 OF 2022
MOHAMMAD AZAM KHAN      ...APPLICANT/
PETITIONER
VERSUS
THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH            ...RESPONDENT
WITH
WRIT PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO.188 OF 2022
O R D E R 
1. Both   the   writ   petition   being   Writ   Petition   (Criminal)
No.188   of   2022,   as   well   as   the   Interlocutory   Application
No.71580 of 2022 in Miscellaneous Application No.766 of 2022
in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 39 of 2022 have been filed by the
1
petitioner seeking interim bail in Case Crime No.70 of 2020,
registered with Police Station Kotwali, Rampur, Uttar Pradesh,
for the offences punishable under Sections 420 and 120B of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC” for short) [hereinafter referred to
as “the said FIR No.70 of 2020”).   A direction is also sought
directing the respondent to seek prior permission of this Court
before arresting the petitioner in any other case.     In Writ
Petition (Criminal) No.188 of 2022, an additional prayer is also
made for quashing and setting aside the proceedings qua the
petitioner in the said FIR No.70 of 2020.  
2. The facts giving rise to the present matter are as under:
3. The petitioner had filed Writ Petition (Criminal) No.39 of
2022 in this Court on 22nd January, 2022.  It was contended in
the said writ petition that in all 87 criminal cases/FIRs have
been filed against the petitioner.  It was further contended that
it was only after the present Government came into power in
2017, that 84 out of these 87 criminal cases/FIRs have been
filed against the petitioner.   It was submitted that as on the
2
date of filing of the said writ petition, he had secured bail in 84
cases, including 3 cases wherein orders have been passed by
this Court.  It was the contention of the petitioner that the said
criminal cases/FIRs were filed by the Ruling Party with  mala
fide  intention.   It was further submitted that though in three
criminal cases, the bail applications were pending and heard,
but were either adjourned or not decided thereby depriving the
petitioner of his personal liberty.   The said writ petition came
up before this Court on 8th February, 2022, when the same was
disposed of by the following order:
“This writ petition has been filed for
grant of interim bail to the petitioner in the
following cases:
(i) Case Crime No.02/2018, dated
25.04.2018 registered under sections
409, 420, 120B, 201 IPC and Section
13(1) of the Prevention of Corruption
Act,   1988   at   Police   Station   SIT,
Sadar, Lucknow, UP.;
(ii) Case   Crime   No.79/2019   dated
01.02.2019 under Sections­500, 505
I.P.C.   registered   at   Police   Station   –
Hazratganj, Lucknow, UP; and 
3
(iii) Case Crime No. 312/2019 dated
19.08.2019 under sections 420, 467,
468, 471, 447, 201 & 120­B I.P.C.
and Section 3 of The Prevention of
Damage to the Public Property Act,
1984   registered   at   Police   Station
Azeem Nagar, Rampur, UP.
Mr.   Kapil   Sibal,   learned   Senior
Counsel   appearing   for   the   petitioner
submitted   that   FIRs   are   registered   just
before elections and most of them relate to
events   that   occurred   long   back.       The
applications   filed   for   bail   are   being
adjourned and the petitioner is suffering in
jail   due   to   FIRs   registered   on   false   and
frivolous grounds.
The   petitioner   is   at   liberty   to
approach the concerned court and request
for   expeditious   disposal   of   the   bail
applications. 
Needless   to   mention   that   the   court
shall   dispose   of   the   bail   applications
expeditiously. 
The   writ   petition   is   dismissed.
Pending application(s) if any, shall stand
disposed of.”
4. It appears that thereafter the petitioner was granted bail
in two cases.   However, in one case, i.e., pertaining to Case
Crime No.312 of 2019, dated 19th August, 2019, for the offences
4
punishable under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 447, 201 &
120B IPC and under Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to
the   Public   Property   Act,   1984,   registered   at   Police   Station
Azeem Nagar, Rampur, Uttar Pradesh (hereinafter referred to as
“the said FIR No.312 of 2019”), though the matter was heard by
the learned Single Judge of the High Court on 4th  December,
2021 and closed for orders, no orders were passed.  Thereafter,
an   application   came   to   be   filed   on   behalf   of   the   State   for
bringing out certain developments.  On account of this, the said
matter   got   prolonged   endlessly,   resulting   in   the   matter   not
being   decided   and   thereby   depriving   the   petitioner   of   his
personal liberty.   As such, the petitioner filed Miscellaneous
Application No.766 of 2022 in Writ Petition (Criminal) No.39 of
2022 (hereinafter referred to as “the said M.A.”). The petitioner
in the said M.A. had prayed for grant of interim bail with regard
to the said FIR No.312 of 2019.  The said M.A. came to be filed
on 23rd April, 2022.  
5
5. It appears that one other FIR No.70 of 2020 was already
registered on 18th  March, 2020.   However, the petitioner was
not named in the said FIR No.70 of 2020.  A charge­sheet after
investigation in the said FIR No.70 of 2020 was filed on 10th
September, 2020, wherein the wife of the petitioner and one
clerk of the Basic Shiksha Adhikari were arrayed as accused
persons.   A letter was addressed by the complainant to the
Investigating Officer (“I.O.” for short) on 24th April, 2022, stating
therein that though the petitioner was also liable to be made
accused in the said FIR No.70 of 2020, no action was taken
against him.  
6. The said M.A. was orally mentioned before this Court on
26th April, 2022 and on 29th April, 2022, seeking listing of the
said M.A.  On 2nd May, 2022, though the said M.A. was listed,
the same could not be taken up and was directed to be listed on
6
th May, 2022. 
7. It appears that during the pendency of the said M.A., an
application was made by I.O. to the Additional Chief Judicial
6
Magistrate, Rampur on 5th  May, 2022, seeking summoning of
the petitioner in FIR No. 70 of 2020.  The learned Magistrate
passed an order summoning the petitioner on the very same
day, i.e., on 5th May, 2022 in respect of the said FIR No.70 of
2020.  
8. When the said M.A. was listed on 6th  May, 2022, it was
submitted before this Court by the respondent­State that the
judgment had already been reserved by the Allahabad High
Court in relation to the bail application in respect of the said
FIR No.312 of 2019 and as such, the matter was adjourned to
11th May, 2022.  
9. The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rampur passed
an order on 6th  May, 2022 and arrayed the petitioner as an
accused in FIR No. 70 of 2020 and on the very same day,
passed   an   order   remanding   the   petitioner   to   custody.
Accordingly, the Custody Warrant was issued, directing Sitapur
Jail Superintendent to keep the petitioner in custody.  
7
10. In light of the subsequent developments implicating the
petitioner in FIR No. 70 of 2020, the present writ petition came
to   be   filed   by   the   petitioner   being   Writ   Petition   (Criminal)
No.188 of 2022 vide Diary No.14644 of 2022, seeking prayers
as stated above.   An Interlocutory Application being I.A. No.
71580 of 2022 was also moved in the said M.A. to bring on
record these developments and to seek interim bail in respect of
FIR No.70 of 2020.
11. During the pendency of these proceedings, the Allahabad
High Court, by a detailed order dated 10th May, 2022, granted
bail to the petitioner in the said FIR No. 312 of 2019, while
imposing severe conditions.  
12. We have heard Shri Kapil Sibal, learned Senior Counsel
appearing on behalf of the applicant/petitioner and Shri S.V.
Raju, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing on behalf
of the State of Uttar Pradesh. 
8
13. Shri Kapil Sibal, learned Senior Counsel, submits that
from the facts, it is clear that the Ruling Party is making every
attempt   possible   to   keep   the   petitioner   behind   the   bars   by
implicating him in one FIR after the other.   He submits that
the present case is a case of political vendetta.  
14. Shri   Sibal   further   submits   that   when   the   petitioner
approached this Court by way of the said M.A. pointing out to
this   court   that   though   the   High   Court   had   heard   the   bail
application   concerning   the   said   FIR   No.312   of   2019   and
reserved the same for orders for number of months, no orders
were passed.  He submits that anticipating that the petitioner
would be granted bail in the said matter, he has been falsely
implicated as an accused in FIR No. 70 of 2020.  He submits
that in the said crime, not only the FIR is registered on 18th
March, 2020, but a charge­sheet in the said FIR was also filed
long   ago,   i.e.,   on   10th  September,   2020.     It   is   therefore
submitted that the petitioner has been implicated in the said
matter only in order to deny him his personal liberty.  
9
15. Shri   S.V.   Raju,   learned   Additional   Solicitor   General,
vehemently opposed the application(s)/petition.   He submits
that under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1973, the Investigating Agency is always free to file a chargesheet against an additional accused if during the investigation,
material is found against him.  He submits that the petitioner is
a heavy­weight politician and due to his pressure, though he
was   involved   in   number   of   criminal   acts,   no   FIRs   were
registered against him.  It is submitted that the petitioner is a
land­grabber   and   is   a   habitual   offender.     He   submits   that
merely   because   the   petitioner   is   a   politician,   he   cannot   be
permitted   to   by­pass   the   remedy   of   filing   regular   bail
application before the appropriate Court.   Shri Raju further
submits that when the petitioner’s statement was recorded by
the I.O. in respect of FIR No.70 of 2020, he threatened the I.O.
with dire consequences. He therefore submits that both the
Interlocutory Application as well as the writ petition deserve to
be dismissed. 
10
16. In ordinary circumstances, we would not have entertained
the   present   writ   petition.   The   petitioner   would   have   been
directed to take recourse to the remedy available to him in law.
However, the facts in the present case are very peculiar.  
17. The   petitioner   approached   this   Court   by   way   of   Writ
Petition (Criminal) No. 39 of 2022, stating therein that though
in 84 FIRs he had already been granted bail, insofar as 3 FIRs
are concerned, though the applications for bail were filed, they
were either adjourned or heard and no orders were passed.  As
such, this Court passed the order dated 8th February, 2022 in
the said Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 39 of 2022, granting liberty
to the petitioner to approach the concerned court and request
for expeditious disposal of the bail applications.  Though it was
sought to be urged before this Court that FIRs were registered
just before elections and most of them related to events that
occurred long back, this Court had declined to entertain the
writ petition and requested the concerned Court to dispose of
the bail applications expeditiously.  
11
18. Subsequently, though the petitioner was granted bail in
Crime No. 02 of 2018 dated 25th April, 2018, registered at Police
Station SIT, Sadar, Lucknow, UP for the offences punishable
under Sections 409, 420, 120B, 201 IPC and Section 13(1) of
the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Crime No.79 of
2019, dated 1st  February, 2019, registered with Police Station
Hazratganj, Lucknow, UP for the offences punishable under
Section 500 and 505 IPC, insofar as FIR No.312 of 2019 is
concerned, though the Allahabad High Court had closed the
Bail Application for orders on 4th   December, 2021, no orders
were   passed.     In   this   background,   the   petitioner   had
approached this Court by way of said M.A., praying for interim
bail in the said FIR No.312 of 2019.  The said M.A. was listed
from time to time.  When we heard the said M.A. on 6th May,
2022,   we  simply  adjourned   it  to   11th  May,  2022   as  it  was
informed to this Court that the Allahabad High Court was likely
to pass the order shortly in the Criminal Misc. Bail Application
No. 40580 of 2021 relating to the said FIR No. 312 of 2019.  On
12
the same day, i.e., 6th May, 2022, on which date we adjourned
the said M.A., an order was passed by the Additional Chief
Judicial Magistrate remanding the petitioner to custody.   
19. After the said M.A. was adjourned, the I.O. started acting
on the letter dated 24th April, 2022 of the complainant, stating
therein that though the petitioner was involved in the crime
reported in FIR No.70 of 2020, no action was taken against
him.   During the pendency of the said M.A., the statements
came to be recorded implicating the petitioner.   On the same
day when we adjourned the said M.A., i.e., on 6th May, 2022, an
order was passed by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate,
Rampur, remanding the petitioner to judicial custody in FIR
No.70 of  2020.    Thereafter on  10th  May, 2022, the  learned
Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court has passed an order
in Criminal Misc. Bail Application No.40580 of 2021, thereby
granting bail to the petitioner in the said FIR No.312 of 2019.  
20. The order of the learned Single Judge of the Allahabad
High Court dated 10th May, 2020 runs into 40 pages. Stringent
13
conditions have been imposed by the learned Single Judge of
the Allahabad High Court while releasing the petitioner on bail.
We do not wish to make any comments with regard to the said
bail order.  The least that could be said is that this Court has
repeatedly held that while deciding a bail application, the Court
should not embark upon a detailed enquiry with regard to the
merits of the matter.  The learned Single Judge of the Allahabad
High Court rightly observed that bail is a right of any accused
and   jail   is   an   exception   and   therefore,   on   humanitarian
grounds   and   keeping   in   view   the   applicant’s/petitioner’s
deteriorating health, old age and the period undergone in jail,
considered   it   just   to   grant   bail   by   imposing   stringent
conditions.  
21. It could thus be seen that the petitioner, who was accused
in 87 criminal cases when he approached this Court by way of
Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 39 of 2022 and was granted bail in
84 cases at that point of time, has now been granted bail in all
87 cases.  It is only on account of implication of the petitioner
14
in FIR No. 70 of 2020 that he would be denied his personal
liberty.   Though FIR No. 70 of 2020 was registered on 18th
March, 2020 and the charge­sheet in the said FIR was filed on
10th  September, 2020, the petitioner in the said FIR has only
now been implicated, i.e., after a period of 1 year and 7 months,
by order dated 6th  May, 2022 passed by the Additional Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Rampur.  It is not as if that the allegations
which are now sought to be made against the petitioner could
not have been made at that point of time.  The main allegation
against the petitioner in the said FIR No.70 of 2020 is that the
certificates are forged.   Further allegation is that the person
who had issued the certificates was not authorized to issue
those certificates.  
22. Taking into consideration the delay in implication of the
petitioner   in   FIR   No.   70   of   2020   and   the   nature   of   the
allegations made therein, we are of the considered view that it
will not be in the interest of justice to deprive the petitioner of
his personal liberty, particularly when in respect of 87 criminal
15
cases/FIRs,   which   were   the   subject   matter   of   Writ   Petition
(Criminal) No. 39 of 2022, he has already been released on bail.
The last of such bail order has been passed on 10th May, 2022
by the learned Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court after a
gap of so many months from the date of reserving the order,
i.e., 4th December, 2021.  
23. Insofar as the contention that the petitioner threatened
the I.O. is concerned, we may only observe that it appears to be
a matter of sheer coincidence that the General Diary (GD) entry
with regard to said threats is registered on 17th May, 2022 at
03:04 hrs., i.e., the date on which the present proceedings were
to come up for hearing and were heard.  We therefore do not
find it necessary to make any further comments thereon.  
24. We are therefore of the view that this is a fit case wherein
this Court should exercise its jurisdiction under Article 142 of
the Constitution of India and grant interim bail to the petitioner
in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, till he files
16
the application for regular bail and the same is considered by
the Competent Court.  
25. Insofar as the other reliefs being sought in Writ Petition
(Criminal) No.188 of 2022 are concerned, we are not inclined to
consider the same.  
26. In the result, we pass the following order:
(i) The Writ Petition (Criminal) No.188 of 2022 is partly
allowed;
(ii) The petitioner is directed to be released on interim bail
in   respect   of   FIR   being   Case   Crime   No.70   of   2020,
registered with Police Station Kotwali, Rampur, Uttar
Pradesh for the offences punishable under Sections 420
and 120B of the IPC on such terms and conditions as
found appropriate by the trial Court; 
(iii) The   petitioner   is   directed   to   file   an   application   for
regular bail before the Competent Court within a period
of two weeks from today.  The same shall be decided by
17
the Competent Court on its own merits without being
influenced   by   any   of   the   observations   made   in   the
present order;  
(iv) The interim bail granted to the petitioner by the present
order shall continue to operate till the decision of the
Competent Court in the application for regular bail and
in the event that the regular bail application is decided
against   the   interest   of   the   petitioner,   the   present
interim   bail   shall   continue   to   operate   for   a   further
period of two weeks from the date of the order passed
by the Competent Court in the application for regular
bail;  
(v) No orders are necessary to be passed in Miscellaneous
Application No. 766 of 2022 in Writ Petition (Criminal)
No.   39   of   2022   and   I.A.   No.   71580   of   2022   in
Miscellaneous   Application   No.   766   of   2022   in   Writ
Petition   (Criminal)   No.   39   of   2022.     The   same   are
accordingly disposed of.
18
27. Pending application(s) if any, including the application(s)
for directions, shall stand disposed of in the above terms.    
…..….......................J.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]
    …….........................J.       
[B.R. GAVAI]
…….........................J.       
[A.S. BOPANNA]
NEW DELHI;
MAY 19, 2022.
19
1
ITEM NO.1503 COURT NO.5 SECTION X
 S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
 RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
I.A. No.71580 OF 2022 IN/AND Miscellaneous Application No.766/2022
in W.P.(Crl.) No.39/2022
MOHAMMAD AZAM KHAN Applicant/
 Petitioner(s)
 VERSUS
THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH Respondent(s)
(IA No.62399/2022-EXEMPTION FROM FILING O.T. and IA No.62398/2022-
APPROPRIATE ORDERS/DIRECTIONS)
WITH
W.P.(Crl.) No. 188/2022 (X)
Date : 19-05-2022 These matters were called on for pronouncement of
 order today.
For Petitioner(s) Mr. Kapil Sibal, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Lzafeer Ahmad B. F., AOR
Mr. Nizam Pasha, Adv.
Mr. Jubair Khan, Adv.
Mr. Aditya Samaddar, Adv.
Mr. Ahmad Ibrahim, Adv.
For Respondent(s) Mr. S V Raju, Ld. ASG
Ms. Garima Prasad Sr. Adv./AAG
Mr. Ajay Vikram Singh, AOR.
Mr. Divyanshu Sahay, Adv
Ms. Priyanka Singh, Adv
Mr. Narender Rana, Adv
Mr. Neelambar Jha, Adv

The Order is pronounced by the Bench comprising
Hon’ble Mr. Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Hon’ble Mr. Justice
B.R. Gavai and Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.S. Bopanna.
This Court inter alia passed the following
order:
(i) The Writ Petition (Criminal) No.188 of
2
2022 is partly allowed;
(ii) The petitioner is directed to be
released on interim bail in respect of FIR being
Case Crime No.70 of 2020, registered with Police
Station Kotwali, Rampur, Uttar Pradesh for the
offences punishable under Sections 420 and 120B of
the IPC on such terms and conditions as found
appropriate by the trial Court;
(iii) The petitioner is directed to file an
application for regular bail before the Competent
Court within a period of two weeks from today. The
same shall be decided by the Competent Court on its
own merits without being influenced by any of the
observations made in the present order;
(iv) The interim bail granted to the
petitioner by the present order shall continue to
operate till the decision of the Competent Court in
the application for regular bail and in the event
that the regular bail application is decided against
the interest of the petitioner, the present interim
bail shall continue to operate for a further period
of two weeks from the date of the order passed by
the Competent Court in the application for regular
bail;
(v) No orders are necessary to be passed in
Miscellaneous Application No. 766 of 2022 in Writ
Petition (Criminal) No. 39 of 2022 and I.A. No.
3
71580 of 2022 in Miscellaneous Application No. 766
of 2022 in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 39 of 2022.
The same are accordingly disposed of.”
 Pending application(s) if any, including the
application(s) for directions, shall stand disposed
of in the above terms.
 (Geeta Ahuja) (Anand Prakash)
 Court Master Assistant Registrar
 (Signed non reportable order is placed on the file)

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