New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday rejected the interim bail plea of former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala who, along with his son Ajay Chautala and others, was convicted in the teachers' recruitment scam in the state.
Brushing aside his plea that he be allowed to remain out of jail on account of his ailments, the apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said most of the ailments cited by Chautala were related to old age.
Justice Dattu observed: "A thought crosses our mind ... if the petitioner gets a chance to come back to power, will he refuse it citing the ailments being pointed before us."
Mocking the grounds for interim bail, Justice Mukhopadhaya said if that be the case then jail will "only be for the healthy people".
However, the apex court, in a minor relief, permitted Chautala to surrender before the jail authorities by Sep 23, instead of the Sep 17 deadline, and directed prison officials to provide "proper, effective, efficient and expert medical treatment", if so required by him.
Referring to the opinion of a five-member team of health specialist that Chautala no more required hospitalisation, the court said: "You don't want to be there (in jail) even for a day."
The apex court noted that Chautala was convicted by a Delhi court Jan 16 and by February he was before the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and his case now was in the final stages of hearing.
Pointing to the "special treatment" that "known" people get, Justice Dattu said: "Are we justified in doing it merely because a big name has surfaced."
He said that such expeditious hearing should be done in all the cases.
The high court Sep 6 rejected Chautala's plea for extension of his interim bail on medical grounds. He then moved the apex court for interim bail.
Chautala, was convicted in the teachers' recruitment scam in January by a court in Delhi. He was chief minister of Haryana when 3,206 teachers were illegally recruited in 2000.