Moga MLA Joginder Pal Jain has resigned from the post of chairman of Punjab State Warehousing Corporation in view of his appointment, made without considering his conviction by a Delhi court, coming under the Punjab and Haryana high court scanner.
Taking note of this statement made before the high court, on Monday, by Punjab's advocate general Ashok Aggarwal, the court directed the state government to inform its decision within two weeks on Jain's resignation and whether Jain could have been appointed to the post if his conviction orders were considered at the time of his appointment.
In its order dated January 7, 1992, the Delhi trial court had sentenced Jain to one-year imprisonment for using a forged passport when he was caught on January 19, 1988, by the immigration authorities before moving to Hong Kong via Bangkok, for possessing a passport that was in the name of Mohan Lal on which Jain's photograph was pasted.
Unmoved by Aggarwal's arguments that Jain's conviction about 20 years ago did not amount to his disqualification from the post, the division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said it was not only Jain's issue but a larger issue. "Please appreciate that if this (Jain) is the only person available with you in the state for making appointment to this post, then perhaps you may be right. But if there are some more persons available, one of those can be suitable for appointment, then you should take a right decision," said the chief justice.
Sitting Congress MLA, Jain had resigned from the Congress in December 2012 to join the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.
The petitioner had informed the court that Jain had filed an affidavit before the returning officer for contesting the assembly elections from Moga in January 2012, stating that he was convicted under sections 419 (cheating by personation) and 471 (stating forged document as genuine) of the IPC, and was sentenced to one-year imprisonment, but was later released on probation. It was also mentioned in the affidavit that the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate, Faridkot, had framed charges on September 28, 2010, against him for setting up an unauthorised colony.