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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, July 08, 2013
The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to produce the file pertaining to Moga MLA Joginder Pal Jain's appointment as chairman of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC). The division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih also directed Jain's counsel to place on record the order of Jain's conviction by a Delhi court.

The court stated that in the file regarding Jain's appointment as chairman, it wanted to peruse as to whether the chief minister had considered the fact about his conviction at the time of the appointment.

In his petition, advocate HC Arora had informed the court that Jain had filed an affidavit before the returning officer for contesting the assembly elections from Moga constituency in January 2012, stating that he was convicted under sections 419 (cheating by personation) and 471 (stating forged document as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and was sentenced to one-year imprisonment, but was later released on probation. It was also mentioned in the affidavit that the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate, Faridkot, had framed charges on September 28, 2010, against him for setting up an unauthorised colony.

During the hearing of the case, when Jain's counsel submitted that the conviction, which took place more than five years ago, did not amount to disqualification for the appointment as chairman of the corporation, the high court refused to buy his arguments. The chief justice observed that a person may not be disqualified for a post, but may still be unsuitable for appointment to that post on account of his antecedents.

The petitioner had sought directions to the state government for quashing Jain's appointment. Arora had submitted that the appointment of a person to the post of chairman who had been convicted of criminal offences, involving moral turpitude, and who was still facing charges pertaining to economic offences, was not in public interest.

Arora also informed the court that as per the Warehousing Corporation Act, 1962, a person cannot be appointed as chairman, unless he had held the post of director of the state warehousing corporation, which was not so in the case.

The case would now come up for hearing on August 19.