Haryana Vidhan Sabha Secretary R K Nandal today said former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son and ex-MLA Ajay Singh Chautala, convicted and currently serving their jail terms in a teachers recruitment scam, are entitled to draw their pension.
In an order issued today Nandal said Chautalas' pensions cannot be withheld only on the ground of their conviction because they have never been disqualified - either under the provisions of the Representation of People's Act, 1951, or the anti-defection law.
"In view of the provisions of law, I am of the considered opinion that Ajay Singh Chautala and Om Prakash Chautala, ex-MLAs, are fully entitled to draw pensions," he said.
He said that it's the "settled law that the pension granted to a public servant/member" on his retirement is his property within the meaning of Article 31 (1) of the Constitution of India.
"...And the character of pension as 'property' cannot possibly undergo such mutation at the whim of a particular person...," he said.
Earlier this month, Nandal heard arguments on Chautalas' entitlement to pensions as ex-MLAs despite their conviction in the JBT recruitment scam.
A senior advocate here had moved a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier this year and later on also appeared before Secretary of the Haryana Assembly with a plea not to disburse them pension in light of the conviction.
The Chautalas and three others are serving 10-year-term in the Haryana teachers recruitment scam in 2000.
The High Court had recently directed the Secretary Vidhan Sabha to hear the petitioner and then pass an order within two months.
When contacted, Nandal said while Om Prakash (82) draws a monthly pension of Rs 2,15,430, his son Ajay Chautala (55) draws Rs 50,100.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, counsel for the Chautalas, had earlier submitted before the Vidhan Sabha Secretary that the payment of pension to ex-MLAs was a service matter and the PIL was not maintainable in such a case.
The counsel had also submitted there was no precedent in India where an ex-MLA's pension had been stopped due to conviction and further pointed out that relevant provisions of law are only with respect to the period or term for which an MLA has been disqualified from the House.