Imagine a chief minister ordering registration of a corruption case against a government official in 1988, but two decades later when the corrupt official challenges his conviction in the Supreme Court, the state doesn’t even bother to send a lawyer to oppose the appeal.
In the absence of the state counsel, the counsel for corrupt official assisted the Supreme Court in going through the trial court and high court judgments against his own client — acting as an ‘officer of the court’.
Though Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the official.
The case dates back to 1987 when Mota Ram, a ward servant in a primary health centre in Sirsa district of Haryana, took Rs 6,000 from one Om Prakash to help get him selected as a ward servant.
When Om Prakash was not selected, he asked Mota Ram to return the money.
Mota Ram paid back Rs 4,700 by mid-1988. But as he refused to return the remaining amount, Om Prakash wrote to the then Haryana Chief Minister, who ordered registration of a corruption case against him.
Interestingly, unaware of the registration of the corruption case against him, Mota Ram later returned the remaining Rs 1,300 to Om Prakash by August 1988. He also secured a receipt from Om Prakash in the presence of witnesses.
But the law is blind.
In February 1989, an anti-corruption court sentenced him to one-year imprisonment. The Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld the order.
Mota Ram approached the apex court in 2003. A bench headed by Justice Mukundakam Sharma was surprised that the Haryana government didn’t send an advocate to oppose the corrupt official’s appeal.
It rejected Mota Ram’s contention that he took the loan from the complainant, saying an unemployed man (Om Prakash) could not have given him a loan of Rs 6,000.