SC to Azam Khan: Appear in Allahabad HC today

NEW DELHI
7 Mar 2017

Controversial Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan today faced severe haranguing from the Supreme Court, which directed him to appear tomorrow before the Allahabad High Court to honour a bailable warrant against him due to his non-appearance in a case. The apex court, which rebuked the Samajwadi Party's minority face for "hoodwinking" the high court, also expressed surprise that the bailable warrant could not be served on a serving minister of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. "Where is the chairman (Khan) of UP Jal Nigam? Is he in Allahabad or Lucknow," asked an angry bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar. Khan's counsel, with some hesitation to inform about his whereabouts, said "he will appear whenever he is asked". At this, the bench asked "doesn't he have a helicopter?"  Again, there was some hesitation on the part of the advocates' appearing for Khan to respond to the query and no clear answer emerged. The top court said "the (high) court feels you (Khan) are hoodwinking it. It is asking you to appear but you are not appearing. You are such a person that no bailable warrant can be served upon you. He is only an ex-officio chairman (of the UP Jal Nigam)."  When Khan's counsel pointed out that he was also a minister and would comply with the high court's order after completion of Assembly elections on March 11, the bench shot back, saying "see how much time you have already been given". The high court had sought his personal appearance on March 1 and 6. "You have not gone to the court. Bailable warrant was issued, even then you did not appear. You are a chairman but the bailable warrant was not served upon you. You have never gone to the court. You go and tell the high court whatever you want to explain. "There is no reason for you not to go. There is no reason for you not to be served with the bailable warrant. There is also no reason for you that you did not attend the high court. You are a minister but even then the warrant was not served upon you," the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said in an oral observation. (PTI)