Saturday, May 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Don’t disclose confessions: HC
Order to plug leaks in Sidhu case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
Issuing notice of motion to Punjab’s Advocate-General, Mr Justice K. S. Garewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today “completely prohibited” the state of Punjab, the investigating agency and other respondents from disclosing the details of the statements and confessions of the accused, besides the contents of the case diaries.

Delivering the verdict on a petition filed by Punjab Public Service Commission chief Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, Mr Justice Garewal ruled: “It is in the interest of fair and impartial investigation, besides trial, that the respondents are completely prohibited from disclosing the contents of the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the contents of the statements and confessions, if any, recorded under Section 172 of the code”.

In his detailed order, Mr Justice Garewal further ruled: “This prohibition shall remain in force until the investigating officer files the final report under Section 173 of the code. Furthermore, the Area Magistrate of Kharar shall ensure that this order is strictly complied with and no selective or controlled leakage of information takes place either to the press and the public. The case will now come up for hearing on May 17.

In his petition, Sidhu had earlier sought directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to hold an independent inquiry into the unauthorised, premature and selective disclosure to the media regarding the material collected by the investigating agency. He had also sought directions to the respondents to initiate proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act, besides under the other provisions of rules, against Additional Director General of Police (Vigilance) Mr A. P. Pandey, and other police officials. He has added that the case registered against him on March 25 at SAS Nagar was false.

Sidhu was initially booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act after conducting raids at his residence in Sector 39 in Chandigarh. Two other cases under the Arms Act and the Excise Act were, subsequently, registered by the Chandigarh Police.

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