The Punjab and Haryana high court has dismissed Himachal Pradesh MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary's petition seeking release from the Ambala central jail to attend the Himachal Vidhan Sabha session, which began on Monday.
It was on November 22, 2012, that Jyoti, 24, was found dead on the roadside in Sector 21, Panchkula. Doon MLA Chaudhary is the main accused in the murder case. He allegedly had illicit relations with the deceased.
Justice MMS Bedi, however, said Chaudhary would be at liberty to seek permission of the assembly to absent himself from the meetings in accordance with the provisions of law. The court said the high court could not exercise the power under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to permit members of the legislative assembly or Parliament to attend the session in custody. The high court had also dismissed his regular bail petition earlier on January 22.
Chaudhary had moved the high court submitting that since he was in custody since January 8 last year, he was compelled to be absent from four sessions of the Himachal legislative assembly. He had mentioned that the fifth session was to be convened in February as per the provisional calendar. The MLA mentioned in his petition that on account of absence for more than 60 days without permission of the House (assembly), the House might declare the assembly seat vacant.
Petitioner's counsel PS Ahluwalia submitted that Chaudhary had a constitutional obligation to attend proceedings of the session.