Om Prakash Chautala's place is in prison, not in hospital: SC

Chautala SC.jpg

New Delhi: Convicted former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala's place is in jail and he cannot enjoy hospitality of the hospital, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said, rejecting his plea for extension of interim bail granted on medical grounds in the teachers' recruitment scam.
The apex court, which took into account the report of the medical board of AIIMS that Chautala's 'presence is not required in the hospital', said, 'the moment big personalities are convicted, they spend more time in hospital than in prison' but when they are seated at the place of power they never say they will not take the power because they are suffering from high-sounding diseases.
While extending from September 17 to September 23, the time given to 78-year-old Chautala for surrender before jail authorities without failure, a bench of justices H.L. Dattu and S.J. Mukhopadhaya, said, "Today you are fit and your place is in a particular place. You stay there and take rest. You go and take medical treatment there.
"Right from the beginning you are enjoying the hospitality at the hospital. At the end of the day there is an order of conviction against you.
"For us status is nothing. He is a convict on interim bail. The medical board of a reputed hospital says his stay in the hospital is not required. The Delhi High Court has considered the report of medical board for not extending his interim bail," the bench said when senior advocate U U Lalit argued that Chautala's health condition should be considered.
The bench, which directed the jail authorities to 'give proper, effective, efficient and expert medical assistance if required by Chautala', said there are so many convicts who remain in jail and suffer from ailments like him.
"Otherwise, jails would be only for healthy people," it said.
The judges were also perturbed over the Delhi High Court giving priority in hearing the appeal filed by the INLD chief, saying there are pending criminal appeals in the apex court and 'people with death sentence are waiting for (disposal) of their appeals filed in 2005'.
The bench said, "Look at the system. Sometimes, I wonder of the system as to how many criminal cases involving death sentence are pending in the apex court. What a poor man will feel? Does the system care only for well known personalities and well known people are given advantage?"
The remarks referring to 'well known personalities' came after Lalit submitted that 'the High Court has been gracious to hear the appeal on priority basis' and now only the prosecution has to make its arguments.
"We do not consider it gracious but today your appeal has got special treatment which is not permitted. It does not give a better name to the system. We are not able to take death reference case of 2005 which are pending (in apex court) and are in queue. Look at the tragedy," the bench said.
Chautala had moved the apex court after his plea for extension of interim bail on medical grounds was dismissed on September 6 by the Delhi High Court, which directed him to surrender before Tihar Jail authorities on September 17.
The high court had refused to extend his bail by relying on the AIIMS medical board's report which had said that presently Chautala's hospitalisation is not required.
Chautala, his son Ajay, and 53 others are serving varying jail terms in the Junior Basic Trained (JBT) teachers' recruitment scam.
The senior Chautala has moved the high court challenging his conviction and 10-year jail term awarded in the junior teachers recruitment scam. On January 22, the trial court had sentenced Chautala and nine others, including Ajay, to 10 years' jail term for illegally recruiting 3,206 JBT teachers in 2000.
Among other convicts, 44 have been sentenced to four years in jail and one was sentenced to five-year jail term.
All of them were held guilty of cheating, forgery, using fake documents as genuine, conspiracy under the IPC and for abusing their official position under Prevention of Corruption Act. 

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