High court to hear Chautala's plea Friday

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 13:40 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court is likely to hear Friday a plea for suspension of the 10-year jail sentence awarded to former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal chief Om Prakash Chautala for irregular appointment of teachers in 2000.

Justice Mukta Gupta will hear Chautala's plea for suspension of sentence on the ground that he was "unwell and suffering from various ailments".

Chautala, 78, also appealed against his conviction by the trial court saying the verdict was liable to be set aside as it was against the tenets of law.

The trial court last month sentenced Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala and eight others to 10 years in jail while one convict was sentenced to five years and 45 others were handed out four years in jail.

Chautala and the other accused were found guilty of illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained teachers in Haryana in 2000.

"The trial court has failed to appreciate that in a democratic set-up and under the principles of collective responsibility, it is the entire council of ministers which is responsible for a cabinet decision and not any one minister," the plea said.

"Singling out the appellant (Chautala) merely because he is the chief minister is unwarranted and erroneous. Further, it a settled principle that in a cabinet, the chief minister is only first among equals," the plea said.

Seeking interim bail on health ground, the plea said Chautala was 70 percent disabled and required constant supervision.

"The applicant had to be hospitalised (after the conviction Jan 16) for chest pain, difficulty in breathing, fluctuations in blood pressure and heart disease and till recently was in GB Pant Hospital," the plea said.

Chautala in his plea said that the case was "false, fictitious and subsumed with political overtones" and he ought not to be put to such great prejudice and hardship due to his conviction and incarceration during the pendency of the accompanying appeal, which is unlikely to be disposed of expeditiously.

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