Taking up a public interest litigation challenging the appointment of Joginderpal Jain as chairman of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC), the Punjab and Haryana high court has issued notices of motion to Jain, the state government and the central warehousing corporation.
Former Moga MLA Jain was appointed chairman shortly after he switched over from the Congress to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal last month.
The petition filed by advocate HC Arora came up for hearing before the division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on Thursday.
Seeking directions to the state government for quashing Jain's appointment, the petitioner said the appointment to the chairman's post of a person 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.
He told the court that Jain had filed an affidavit before the returning officer for contesting the assembly elections from the 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 sentenced to one-year imprisonment, but was later released on probation.
It was also mentioned in the affidavit that charges had been framed against him by the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate, Faridkot, on September 28, 2010, for setting up an unauthorised colony.
Arora also told the court that as per the Warehousing Corporation Act, 1962, a person could not be appointed chairman unless he had held the post of director of the state warehousing corporation, which was not so in this case.
The court was also informed by Arora that as soon as he came to know about Jain's appointment being finalised, he had sent notices to the Punjab chief minister, chief secretary and the chairman of the central warehousing corporation not to appoint him in view of his antecedents, but still the appointment was finalised.
The case would now come up for hearing on March 8.