Unless their conviction is stayed by a higher court of law, former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son Ajay Singh Chautala will not be able to contest elections for the next 16 years. Chautala and his son, both of whom are MLAs, were sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment by a CBI court in Delhi on Tuesday after being convicted in the JBT recruitment scam on January 16.
As per section 8 (3) of Representation of People Act, 1951, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction, and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years after his release.
Former secretary general of the Lok Sabha, Subhash Kashyap says that that even if a person gets bail after the conviction and his appeal is pending, he remains disqualified from contesting elections. Election Commission guidelines affirm what Kashyap says.
The next assembly elections in Haryana are scheduled for 2014.
However, the Chautala duo can still continue as MLAs if they file an appeal against their conviction or sentencing within three months from the date of their conviction.
"The disqualification is in terms of contesting the elections. If a sitting MLA or MP is convicted but files an appeal or application for revision in respect of conviction or sentence within 90 days, then he is not disqualified from continuing as MLA or MP," Kashyap said.
The CBI court has convicted Chautala, his son Ajay Singh, the then political adviser to the CM, Sher Singh Badshami; two IAS officers - Chautala's former officer on special duty (OSD) Vidya Dhar and the then director of primary education, Sanjiv Kumar -- and 50 others under sections 418, 467, 471 and 120B of the IPC and section 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.