A sessions court in Rampur on Wednesday acquitted Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a 2019 hate speech case, reported PTI.

The court overturned a magistrate verdict from October 27 that had convicted the former MLA from Rampur Sadar.

Khan was booked for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and former Rampur District Magistrate Aunjaneya Kumar Singh in 2019. Within 24 hours of his conviction, the Samajwadi Party leader was disqualified as an MLA.

The Samajwadi Party leader had also challenged his disqualification from the state Legislative Assembly in the Supreme Court.

On November 7, the Supreme Court had directed the Rampur court to hear Khan’s application seeking a stay on his conviction. The Supreme Court was also critical of the speed with which Khan’s disqualification proceedings were done by the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. However, on November 10 the Rampur court had dismissed the Samajwadi Party leader’s plea to put a stay on his conviction.

Khan, who was granted regular bail in the case in November, had filed an appeal against the conviction.

Advocate Zubair Ahmad, who had represented Khan in the court, said that they will soon decide on the next course of action, since his conviction had cost him his Assembly seat.

“The sessions court has considered the lower court order wrong and said the prosecution couldn’t prove its case,” Ahmed told The Indian Express. “It is a worrying issue. In the same case that he has been acquitted, Azam Khan sahab had spent considerable time in prison.”