SC clears TV episodes on Haryana teachers scam

New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the plea of Haryana’s former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala seeking to put on hold the telecast of TV serial “Crime Patrol Dastak” episode on teachers recruitment scam for which he was convicted and jailed.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir while dismissing the plea by Chautala, however, asked Sony TV – the channel on which the serial is telecast – to camouflage the characters as to avoid any direct reference to the actual scam.

Pronouncing the order, Chief Justice Kabir said that no interference is called for and the appeal is dismissed.

Chautala, currently in Tihar Jail following his conviction in the scam in January by a special CBI court in Delhi, was the chief minister from 1999 to 2005 when 3,206 junior basic trained teachers were recruited in 2000.

He and two others had challenged the order of a division bench of the Delhi High Court, setting aside its single judge’s February 22 order restraining the channel from telecasting the allegedly reconstructed version of the scam till April 4 when appeal challenging their conviction was to come up for hearing.

The court was told that the story in the episode of “Crime Patrol Dastak” alleges that Rs.2 to 3 lakh were purportedly taken for the recruitment of per teacher but there was no such finding by the trial court that convicted his clients in January.

The TV channel had opposed the plea by Chautala and two others, saying that it amounted to “pre-censorship” and attempt to “gag” the channel by the petitioner.

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