Punjab has power to investigate sacrilege cases, reiterates High Court - ECAS Punjab

Punjab has power to investigate sacrilege cases, reiterates High Court

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Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 23

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today virtually reiterated that the Punjab Government had the power to probe sacrilege cases by dismissing a review application filed by an accused in the matter.

Applicant Sukhjinder Singh was seeking review of Justice Rajan Gupta's order dated January 25, 2019, upholding a Vidhan Sabha resolution to withdraw consent for a CBI probe. The order was upheld by a Division Bench and attained finality after the Supreme Court turned down the CBI's plea on the technical ground of delay in approaching it.

'Issue argued and settled'

Justice Rajan Gupta asserted the issue was extensively argued and settled. It was held the government was competent to withdraw pending FIR's probe, if it was transferred by it to the CBI. For the purpose, the Bench had already interpreted Supreme Court judgment in the case of Kazi Lhendup Dorji versus the CBI

Sukhjinder Singh, among other things, claimed the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act granted the state the power to give consent for a CBI probe. But the Act did not have a provision for permitting the state to withdraw such consent.

Justice Gupta, during the course of hearing, observed the consent's withdrawal had already been argued and settled by the High Court. As such, it was pointless to agitate the issue as the matter had attained finality up to the Supreme Court.

Responding, his counsel submitted the applicant was never a party before the court during the first round of litigation. Secondly, the FIRs — subject matter of the first round — were separate. Two FIRs on the police firing were never investigated by the CBI and were withdrawn before the files could physically be handed over.

Justice Gupta asserted the issue was extensively argued and settled. It was held the government was competent to withdraw pending FIR's probe, if it was transferred by it to the CBI. For the purpose, the Bench had already interpreted Supreme Court judgment in the case of Kazi Lhendup Dorji versus the CBI.

Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda submitted a Division Bench dismissed appeal filed by original writ petitioner Charanjit Singh. The applicant was not a party to the original writ petition and could not file a review. Nanda also relied on three Supreme Court and High Court judgements on the issue.

Meanwhile, Justice Gupta's Bench was apprised about a letter dated July 29, 2019, by the Special DGP, Directorate of Bureau of Investigation, to the CBI, forwarding certain new/relevant information on sacrilege cases. Questioning Nanda on the letter's veracity, Justice Gupta asked whether the action amounted to contempt of courts and a breach of Vidhan Sabha privilege.

Nanda clarified that the action was without jurisdiction and an Additional Chief Secretary had written to the Union Secretary, DOPT, with a copy to the CBI Director for return of cases to the state.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3fu4OtH

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