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Questioning the "competence" of candidates recommended to the newly-formed Haryana state human rights commission, former chief minister and leader of the opposition Om Prakash Chautala had strongly opposed the selection of retired justices Vijender Jain and H S Bhalla to the body.
Chautala had also taken exception to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda being associated with the selection process on grounds of propriety as he claimed that another candidate, retired IAS officer J S Ahlawat, is a close relative of Hooda. Jain, Bhalla and Ahlawat were all "controversial", Chautala had written in a dissent note to the state government. Without taking names, he had also written that two of the four names recommended by the state government panel "are absolutely tainted".
Jain, a former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, heads the commission, while Bhalla, a retired judge of the same court, is a member. The two-page note submitted to the government on September 15 said that those who are appointed as members of the human rights commission should be "completely bereft of suspicion and controversies". Referring to information that Ahlawat is a relative of Hooda, Chautala had written, "if this is so, it was against the principles of propriety that the chief minister associated himself with the selection process".
"Were these the most competent persons for the post of chairman and members of the commission?" Chautala had asked in the note written in Hindi, a copy of which is available with The Indian Express. He had also objected to the selections saying neither a woman nor a person representing the SC/ST communities had been made members.
Alleging that a "pick and choose policy" was adopted by the selection committee which included Hooda, Chautala wrote "there is nothing on file to suggest whether the selected candidates applied for the posts or they were chosen as per the whims and fancies of the selection committee". Chautala said he specifically objected to the names of Jain and Bhalla as their tenures as judges had been "controversial".