The conviction of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his elder son Ajay Singh Chautala by a CBI court in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the recruitment of junior basic trained (JBT) schoolteachers in Haryana has serious political implications for the Chautalas and their outfit, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
January 22, the day the CBI court is expected to pronounce the sentence, may well define the course of politics in Haryana. If sentenced to more than two years, Chautala Sr and Ajay face the prospect of being disqualified from contesting the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in 2014.
Election Commission guidelines say that even if a person is on bail after conviction and his appeal is pending before a court, he cannot contest elections.
According to section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a person convicted for any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 2 years shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years after his release.
Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act— the law under which the Chautalas and 55 officials have been charged in the JBT scam case — says that any public servant who commits criminal misconduct shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than one year and a maximum of seven years.
To add to the worries of the INLD bosses and cadres, the former CM and sons Ajay and Abhay Singh Chautala are facing trial by a CBI court in a disproportionate assets case.