The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has issued notice to the Akhilesh Yadav-led government to file its response on whether Azam Khan's appointment both as chancellor of Mohammad Ali Jauhar University and a cabinet minister amounts to holding office of profit.
The order was passed by a bench comprising justice Devi Prasad Singh and justice Arvind Kumar Tripathi on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Raza Husain seeking Khan’s removal as a minister in the Uttar Pradesh government and lodging of an First Information Report against him for using abusive language against a community.
According to additional advocate general Bulbul Godiyal, who appeared for the government, while the court turned down the petitioner's demand of registration of an FIR against Khan, it gave two months to the government to file its reply on the office-of-profit issue.
Petitioner's counsel Ashok Pandey's contended that as the chancellor of Mohammad Ali Jauhar University Khan cannot function as a cabinet minister and enjoy facilities of both the offices.
This, he said, was not only in contravention of the university’s statutes but also amounted to holding office-of-profit at the same time.
Pandey also presented a press release issued by Khan using abusive language against an imam or a cleric and hurting the religious sentiments of a particular sect of the Muslim community.
The court had observed that prima facie the press release seemed to be a hate-speech and reprimanded the Samajwadi Party leader in its September 18 order.
The court, according to Godiyal, also turned down the demand of the petitioner for removing Khan from office over his hate speech.