Supreme Court Upholds 10 Year Jail for Chautala, Son
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala and others, challenging the Delhi High Court verdict which upheld their conviction in the junior basic trained (JBT) teachers recruitment scam.
A Bench of Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh, while dismissing a bunch of petitions by Chautalas and nine others said, “We are not inclined to entertain any of the petitions. They are dismissed.”
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Chautalas, sought to shift the blame on the officials, saying there was nothing wrong with the government decision to recruit the JBT teachers but things went wrong in the implementation of the decision.
During arguments, Salve compared it to the multi-crore Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, saying that creation of the Vyapam Board was not a conspiracy but down the line it was hijacked by the officers and was exploited and said, “Something that started as a sensible decision was hijacked by someone and loopholes exploited along the way, can we say, the setting up of Vyapam in Madhya Pradesh was not a conspiracy, but somebody hijacked it mid-way and exploited it.”
Besides dismissing the plea by Chautalas, the apex court dismissed the pleas of Yogesh Kumar Sharma, Bihari Lal, Darshan Dayal Verma, Anar Singh, Ajit Singh Sangwan, Ram Kumar, Raksha Jindal, Sudha Sachdeva and Abhilash Kaur.
The Delhi High Court, while upholding the 10-year jail term of the Chautalas, on March 5 had said they “deserved punishment of the highest kind” as they had cheated the youth of Haryana.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court found no fault with Parliament passing a resolution condemning Justice Markandey Katju for his blog against Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose and sought assistance of the Attorney General and senior advocate F S Nariman in deciding his plea for quashing it.
“Once you (Katju) express your views in public domain, then you have to accept the criticism. Institutions like Parliament can also disagree with you,” a three-judge Bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said.
The Bench appointed Nariman as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist the court.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for the former the Press Council of India Chairperson, said Justice Katju is entitled to his views, which are backed by many historians and the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha condemned him for his statements without even giving him a hearing.
Justice Katju, in one of his blogs, had called “Gandhi a British agent, and Subhas Chandra Bose a Japanese agent.”