“Chautalas can’t contest elections now”

Says constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap on the sentencing of Om Prakash Chautala and his son in teachers' recruitment scam

GN Bureau | January 23, 2013



On the sentencing of Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his MLA son Ajay Chautala to 10 years in jail by a Rohini court for their involvement in illegal appointment of teachers in the state, constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap says they will not be able to contest assembly or parliamentary elections, until exonerated by the higher court. They would not be able to contest any elections during this time and for another six years from the date of completing their sentence. Even, getting a stay on the sentence will not help Chautalas contest the election. They get protection under Section 8(4) of the Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951. They will get three months time to appeal and can continue to hold his assembly seat if a higher court stays his conviction. The rules say “none of the above mentioned disqualification will take effect… until three months have elapsed” if, on the date of conviction, the person convicted is an MP or a member of a state legislature.

Haryana education minister Geeta Bhukkal says we will read court’s judgement carefully and take a decision on the future of state-appointed teachers. Judiciary should not be pressurised by politics. The decision has been taken independently.

Haryana parliamentary affairs minister Randeep Surjewala, says, “I see this verdict as a lesson for entire administrative and political class. It proves that however high you may be the law is above you. You can’t browbeat the judicial process of this country by hooliganism and slogan shouting. It is a clear cut attempt from Om Prakash Chautala and his supporters to browbeat the judicial process.” 

PS Bawa, chairman Transparency International India, says, “The judgement is in the right direction and is a step forward to cleanse the political system accused of corruption. It shows that the upper echelon of political parties, like Om Prakash Chautala being one of the heavyweights in Haryana politics, is also punishable under the law. The trend has been set up. However, I would say there are several politicians who are facing trials in different courts, and courts should speed up their trials too. You are doing a heinous crime by rigging teachers’ recruitment. What will they teach when they have paid money to get the job? They will impart bad value system to students. I don’t have sympathy with Chautala’s supporters who clashed with the police outside the Rohini court.

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