In a setback to the Punjab government, the Punjab and Haryana high court has quashed the appointment of Moga MLA Joginder Pal Jain as chairman of Punjab State Warehousing Corporation (PSWC) saying it was not "justified in any manner" and was based on "considerations other than bonafide."
The order came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih on Thursday while pronouncing the judgment on a public interest litigation.
Jain was appointed chairman of the corporation on December 27, 2012. The court observed that though Jain was elected as an MLA from Moga on a Congress ticket in the 2012 elections, he resigned from the Congress on December 26, 2012, to join the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. And it was on the very next day that he was appointed as chairman of the corporation by the chief minister at his camp office in Delhi.
The court said, "As a matter of fact, the processing of the file took place the same day and even the notification, appointing him as the director and chairman of the corporation, was issued on the same day."
The court said the haste with which Jain's appointment had been processed, while totally neglecting and overlooking the provisions of the statute, further cemented the assertion of the petitioner that Jain's appointment was based on considerations other than bonafide and was not in the interest of the corporation.
The division bench said that on August 19 when the case was taken up for hearing, the Punjab advocate general had admitted that the past criminal record and the pending cases against Jain were not taken into consideration to assess his suitability for the appointment of chairman.
The court said that after going through the records it was satisfied that Jain had only been appointed as the chairman of the board of directors of the corporation and never as a director of the corporation as mandated by law before appointment to the post of chairman.
The petitioner had submitted that Jain had filed an affidavit before the returning officer for contesting assembly elections from Moga constituency in January 2012, stating that he was convicted under section 419 (cheating by personation) and 471 (stating forged document as genuine) of the IPC, and was sentenced to imprisonment of one year, but was later released on probation.
In its order dated January 7, 1992, the Delhi trial court had sentenced Jain to one-year imprisonment for using a forged passport.
The affidavit also read that charges had been framed by the court of additional chief judicial magistrate, Faridkot, on September 28, 2010, against him for setting up of an unauthorised colony.