Murder accused MLA to take oath tomorrow

Following permission by the Himachal Pradesh Assembly speaker to allow Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary, who has been accused in the Hoshiarpur girl murder case, to take oath, Chief Judicial Magistrate Bhawna Jain on Tuesday directed the jail authorities to produce the MLA on before the Speaker for the swearing-in January 24.

The application allowing the Doon MLA to take oath came up for hearing in the court on Tuesday, and the CJM passed the orders later in the afternoon. Prosecution counsel Surinder Bairagi said that they didn't object to the application of swearing-in as "it is the constitutional duty of the MLA to take oath".

Doon MLA is at present serving the judicial remand in the Ambala Central jail, after the court earlier rejected the prosecution plea to extend his police remand for "recovery of his mobile", from which the MLA allegedly used to talk with Jyoti Kumari. Twenty-four-year-old Jyoti was found murdered on a road in Sector 21. She had sustained severe head injuries.

The MLA also moved the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Secretariat on Monday through his counsel, Amar Deep Singh, after he wrote a letter seeking that he should be allowed to take oath. In the letter that was written on Monday, Himachal Vidhan Sabha secretary conveyed to Chaudhary that the Assembly speaker would be available in his chamber on January 24, 30 and 31. Counsel for the accused, A S Sukhija, said, "Under Article 188 of the Indian constitution, the MLA is entitled to hold his seat only after taking oath."

Chaudhary was elected from the Doon Assembly constituency for the first time. His father, Lajja Ram, is a four time MLA from the Doon constituency. The family owns petrol pumps and brick kilns in the state. The MLA was earlier suspended by the Congress and was also removed from the post of Himachal Pradesh general secretary after his role in the murder case had surfaced. Congress has termed the suspension as a party's zero tolerance policy for crime against women.

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