Tuesday, May 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Satyameva Jayate, assert advocates
Role of judges in PPSC affairs must be probed
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Launching an attack on judicial aberrations, agitated members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, at a meeting held here this afternoon, resolved to meet the Chief Justice for conducting an inquiry into the allegations against certain Judges reportedly involved in the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) scam.

The advocates also resolved to ask the Chief Justice to withdraw work from the Judges whose names had surfaced during the investigation being conducted by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in PPSC affairs. The advocates passed another resolution to challenge the orders passed by Mr Justice K.S. Garewal of the High Court “completely prohibiting” 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, to the media. The association members also sought the transfer of local Judges. The Vigilance Bureau too would be requested to disclose the names of the Judges so that they could be passed on to the press, they further resolved.

Normally at the receiving end, the advocates were in no mood to keep quiet. Fear of contempt was the last thing on their minds as they fired a volley of verbal allegations against the Judges in the jam-packed Bar Association hall. “They are no better than the executives and the politicians”, they alleged. “We are willing to go behind bars, but the truth must prevail,” they claimed.

Quoting examples from mythology, the advocates asserted that the Judges, allegedly involved in the scam, should themselves submit their resignation or else the President should be asked to intervene. Others argued that their confidence in the justice delivery system had been eroded. Laying emphasis on “generating public opinion”, they asserted that judiciary’s image had been damaged.

Amidst claps and shouts of “shame, shame”, the men-in-black demanded the setting up of a committee, comprising Bar Association members, for identifying the Judges allegedly involved in the scam and disclosing their names to the general public. They added that the Judges should be given a chance to explain the facts and circumstances. If their contentions were proved to be wrong at a later stage, then they should be proceeded against in accordance with law, the members maintained. Suspension of work was also suggested.

Asking the media to act strongly, they requested the scribes not to buckle under pressure and to keep in mind larger public interest. Be brave like the Editor of The Tribune Group of Publications, Mr Hari Jaisingh, the lawyers advised. “Defy orders directing you against giving details of the investigations being conducted in the matter. If you are issued notice under the Contempt of Court Act, we will support you”, they assured.

As the lawyers opened verbal fire, beads of perspiration appeared on their brow. The reason was not very hard to see. The over-head air conditioners proved ineffective in the hall packed with over 500 advocates. The meeting, which started at 12.45 pm, was expected to be over by 1.45 pm, but lasted for an additional half an hour as one lawyer after another proceeded to vent his point of view. Loudspeakers were not required as their enthusiastic voice could be heard without any aid even at the farthest end of the hall.

Addressing the gathering, Punjab’s former Advocate-General G.S. Grewal claimed that the Judges, as per his information, had convened a meeting to discuss the issue, but he was not aware of the outcome. “That is why we have been forced to call this meeting,” he stated. “If the Judges do not act themselves, we will have to set the things in order”. Requesting the Judges “to take care of the image of the judiciary”, he said the Judges should be given an opportunity of explaining their stand. “if they tell a lie and it is proved, then they should be proceeded against in accordance with law,” he suggested.

Justifying the Bar Association’s intervention, advocate Puran Singh Hundal stated that the Association had produced some of the best Judges in the country. “Its image has to be protected,” he said. Bar member Prem Singh said the onus was on the Association to act as the names of the Judges had been dragged in the controversy. Punjab’s former Deputy Advocate-General Rupinder Khosla claimed that the advocates were looking up to the Judges for justice, but their faith had been shattered in the system. “Withdraw work from the Judges allegedly involved in the scandal,” he demanded. Other speakers included Mr J.S. Toor, Mr P.S. Bhangu, Mr Hari Singh Nagra, Mr Manjit Singh Khera, Mr H.S. Gill, Mr Kuldip Singh Kapoor, Mr Darshan Singh Bishnoi, Mr Rajeev Godara, Mr I.S. Balhara, Mr Surinder Lamba and Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal. Association President Mr Hawa Singh Hooda and Vice-President Sukhjinder Singh Behl were present during the meeting.



Tribune, we are proud of you”

APPRECIATING the page-one signed editorial “No, My Lord” by the Editor of The Tribune, Mr Hari Jaisingh, and Point of Law by Mr Anupam Gupta, the members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association on Monday unanimously passed a resolution appreciating the newspaper’s efforts.

Referring to the editorial and the special article, Punjab’s former Advocate-General said: “We are proud of the coverage. The newspaper should continue with its efforts to bring out the truth”.

“Become Mr Hari Jaisingh,” advised advocate Surinder Lamba while asking the journalists to act in a brave manner and not to buckle under any external pressure. Mr Darshan Singh Bishnoi also sought the passing of a resolution for appreciating the newspaper for its frank and bold stand in the matter as was evident from its editorial and the special article.


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