In a setback to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, a Rampur court on Thursday dismissed his appeal challenging his conviction in a hate speech case that led to his disqualification from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

The verdict dashes Khan's hope of overturning his disqualification and will pave the way for holding of bypoll in the Rampur Sadar assembly constituency.

The Court, after hearing both sides, turned down Khan's appeal. The Samajwadi Party leader was not present in the Court on Thursday.

The Court heard Khan's appeal on the direction of the Supreme Court which had also asked the Election Commission not to issue the bypoll notification for the Rampur Sadar assembly seat till November 10.

The Supreme Court said the bypoll notification can be issued on or after November 11, once the sessions court decides on Khan's plea.

On October 27, a special MP-MLA court in Rampur had convicted Khan in the hate speech case and sent him to three years in jail. Khan filed an appeal challenging his conviction.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Rampur court to hear and dispose of Khan's application on Thursday itself. Khan was elected from the Rampur Sadar assembly constituency for the 10th time in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls earlier this year.

The Representation of the People Act says that anyone sentenced to imprisonment of two years or more shall be disqualified "from the date of such conviction" and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time in jail.

The MP-MLA court of judge Alok Dubey Thursday heard the arguments of Khan's lawyers and government advocates. Khan's lawyers Imran and Vinod Sharma questioned the veracity of the CD, which was presented as evidence in the 2019 case, and sought annulling the conviction order.

The prosecution argued that Khan never denied that it was his speech and claimed that he was an MP at that time and should have been responsible while making the speech. The hearing in the court continued till 1:30 pm when the judge returned to his chamber, reserving the order.

The instant case relates to an election speech during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Khan was booked for making inflammatory speeches while addressing a public meeting in Khatanagaria village in the Milak Kotwali area.

A case was registered against the MLA in April 2019 when he levelled serious allegations against administrative officials who were posted in Rampur and against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. A video of Khan's speech had gone viral on social media.

With PTI inputs