P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



HC notice to Bibi Jagir Kaur
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice of contempt to former SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, Director-Principal of Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Education and Research, Amritsar, Dr US Dhaliwal and Secretary SGPC Dalmegh Singh.

The notice has been issued on a contempt petition filed by Harpreet Singh and 14 other students of the MBBS course run by the institute.

In their plea, the students had sought action under the contempt law against the three for not implementing the order dated November 14 issued by the High Court.

In its order, the court had directed the management of the SGPC-backed institute to allow the students of the second professional MBBS course to sit in the exam scheduled for November 22. Bibi Jagir Kaur, while she was SGPC chief, was ex-officio Chairperson of the Trust which managed the institute.

Taking up a petition filed by Ms Navdeep Kaur Gill and 16 other students of the institute, seeking setting aside of the notice put up by the institute asking them to pay the remainder of the fee fixed by the institute, the Bench headed by Mr Justice J.S. Khehar had also issued notice of motion to the respondents for December 13.

In their petition, Ms Gill and other students had stated that even though the fee fixation committee of the Punjab Government, which is headed by Mr Justice G.R. Majithia (retd), had fixed the fee for government quota students of MBBS course at Rs 75,000 per year, the institute has asked them to pay Rs 2.73 lakh per year. The final notice dated November 3 asked the petitioners to pay the full fee. Else they would not be allowed to sit in the forthcoming exam on November 22.

The students claimed that immediately after the court order, they went to deposit their fee. However, the clerk on duty refused to accept the fee, claiming that he had been told by Dr Dhaliwal not to accept any fee except that fixed by the institute.

It was finally the Vice Chancellor of Baba Farid University, who intervened in the matter, and got provisional roll numbers issued to the students. He also ordered their examination centre to be shifted. Thereafter, the students were able to appear in the exam.

They have stated even though the orders of the court were duly served on the Principal, he and other respondents "intentionally, flagrantly and willfully" did not obey the court orders.

After hearing counsel for the petitioners, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar issued notice to the respondents for April 18, 2006. 


SAD to forge front with parties opposed to Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will forge a front with all “anti-Congress” parties while continuing its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next Assembly elections in Punjab, SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said today.

“The tie-up with the BJP will continue,” Mr Badal said at a press conference here when he was asked if the SAD would part ways with the BJP in the next poll due to reported differences between the two parties. To a question whether the SAD would also ally with the Bahujan Samaj Party in Punjab, he said it was too early to comment on the matter.

He, however, said his party would ‘’take and give’’ support to all “anti-Congress” parties and try to forge a front with them.

The SAD leader criticised the Congress-led government in the state for its alleged failure on all fronts. He said the government had lost communication with the people of the state during the past four years.

To another question, he said his party was fully prepared to face the Assembly elections in the state. It had played the role of an Opposition party in a satisfactory manner.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal claimed that candidates supported by the SAD had won a majority in the local gurdwara elections in Haryana. Elections were held in 18 gurdwaras across the state. A total of 72 seats were contested. Akali-supported candidates had won 51 of them. Mr Badal said after the process of co-opting one member in each gurdwara, the Akali-supported candidates would have a majority in 16 out of the 18 gurdwaras.

Mr Badal claimed his party lost the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) elections due to confusion on the date of the poll. “While the Akal Takht Jathedar had asked the DSGMC to hold the elections on January 18, it conducted these on December 19 which led to confusion,” Mr Badal said.

To a question, Mr Badal denied the SAD was behind the Akal Takht’s directive to the DSGMC. “It was Akal Takht’s own initiative. We do not interfere in the affairs of the Takht,” he said.


There was a bid to use me, says ex-Takht Jathedar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 22
A former Akal Takht Jathedar, Prof Darshan Singh, in a two-page letter to the present incumbent, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, has spilled the beans by revealing that the leadership of the SGPC and the SAD tried to use the institution of Akal Takht for personal favours when he was holding the post of Jathedar.

The communication of Prof Darshan Singh, a copy of which is with The Tribune, to the Akal Takht Jathedar also revealed that he had been pressurised when he was holding the post of Akal Takht Jathedar by vested interests who were still at the helm of affairs and wanted to exploit the age-old Sikh institution for personal favours.

Expressing shock over the recent developments, the former Jathedar alleged that the same forces had “compelled” Jathedar Vedanti to issue a directive on the eve of the annual elections of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

Prof Darshan Singh alleged that instead of becoming a tool in the hands of the then ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the SGPC, he preferred to quit as Jathedar with a view to upholding the age-old institution of Akal Takht. He said his resignation was accepted two days before the annual elections of the DSGMC after he refused to accept the diktats of the ruling group.

Bhai Ranjit Singh was appointed his successor who was in jail at the time.

The former Jathedar asked Jathedar Vedanti not to bow before the “directives” issued by the vested interests.

He questioned the intentions of Jathedar Vedanti to issue directives regarding postponement on the eve of the DSGMC elections. He wondered why Jathedar Vedanti had not questioned the authority of Mr R.S. Khurana, the outgoing general secretary of the DSGMC, when he had convened the elections on December 19 despite knowing that Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, the then president, had announced the annual poll for January next.

Meanwhile, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, general secretary, Dal Khalsa, has sought the resignation of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti as Jathedar. He said “unwanted interference” in the DSGMC affairs at the behest of the SAD had belittled the post of Jathedar.


International airport at Halwara okayed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Punjab Government has given its consent to the Centre to expand the Halwara defence aerodrome into an international airport.

Sources said that a letter in this regard had been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) by the Punjab Government. A team of senior officials of the state government had recently held a meeting with the top brass of the PMO with regard to the setting up of an international airport with multiple terminal facilities in Punjab.

Earlier, the state government had forwarded a proposal to set up such an airport at Laddowal, near Ludhiana.

However, the Defence Ministry had objected to the setting up of an airport there, it is learnt. Following this development, the PMO had asked the state government to send a fresh proposal.

Punjab’s economic development has been seriously affected in the absence of a world-class airport.

Mr Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries had told the state government that he needed the international airport facility to set up his base in the state. He wanted to export processed vegetables and food prepared from durum wheat to European and other countries.

As Halwara aerodrome is in the centre of Punjab, it will suit the business operations of Mr Ambani, who, sources said, had already identified the top staff to be appointed in Punjab to start his operations. The state government has appointed Mr Himmat Singh, a senior IAS officer and Managing Director of Punjab Agro Industries, for liaison with Mr Ambani.

At Halwara, the Union Government will have to make the minimum investment to expand the airbase.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Punjab Council of Ministers will be held on December 27. The issue of recruitment to various departments will come up at that meeting.


Son's tribute to a great father
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
AS the nation gets ready to mark 100 years of the commissioning of the notorious Cellular Jail in Andaman and Nicobar islands in March next, a memorial at Siswan near Chandigarh is also sprucing its environs and making additions to its gallery of memorabilia.

Siswan village, about 8 km from the PGI, houses a memorial dedicated to Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani, a martyr who laid down his life in taking care of the sick and in upholding human values during the British rule and more particularly against the Japanese invaders during the Second World War.

The three-storied Cellular Jail was constructed by the British to keep criminals away from the mainstream life. At one time, it housed thousands of prisoners, including 2,000 life convicts. Those days sending a person to 'Kalapani' meant the end of life for the person concerned.

The jail also served the purpose of dumping the political prisoners of the time. Hoti Lal and Babu Ram Hari, both editors of 'Swarajya' published from Allahabad, were the first to land at 'Kalapani' as political prisoners. Barinder Kumar Ghosh, brother of Sri Aurobindo, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Indu Bhushan Roy, Ulaskar Dutt and Noni Gopal Mukherjee, who staged a 72-day hunger strike, were among those who suffered incarnation there.

At a time when the aboriginals, migrants and the convicts were witnessing turbulent times, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani landed on his assignment as an assistant medical officer on the island in 1926. The transfer came as a punishment posting for his public utterances on 'Swaraj' (self-rule). He was horror struck by the great chasm that existed between the authorities and the local people, majority of whom were convicts and former convicts.

Dr Kalepani was instrumental in setting up a gurdwara. The place where the shrine is situated has been named after him. He also set up a co-educational school besides authoring at least half a dozen books of poetry.

The doctor carried on the good work of taking care of the health of the natives and social work till the Japanese took control of the island in March 1942.

In October 1943, he was arrested and put behind bars at the same place where he had served as a doctor. On January 13, 1944, Dr Kalepani was marched outside the jail premises where along with other prisoners he dug up a trench. Later, all of them were lined besides the trench and shot dead.

Prof M.S. Dhillon, son of the saintly figure, has authored 'A Titan in Andamans' on his life. The book was released by Dr Manmohan Singh when he was the Union Finance Minister in 1995. Prof Dhillon was also instrumental in constructing the memorial at Siswan, which also houses a library.

Unfortunately, there are very few books in the library. This is a matter of great concern for Prof Dhillon. "A number of books borrowed from the library were never returned. We are looking for books as contributions to the museum. In fact, we are working on expanding the vision of the library from merely concentrating on Dr Kalepani to covering other aspects related to the freedom movement and the Cellular Jail", said the worthy son of the worth father.


Lalpura tipped to head Akali front
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 22
A veteran Akali leader, Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, is tipped to head a unified Akali Dal to constituted in the state to counter the Congress and the SAD during the next Assembly elections likely to be held in February 2007.

Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, President, All India Shiromani Akali Dal, told this correspondent that the new front would include various Akali factions like the Akali Dal 1920, the Akali Dal (Longowal) and his party, and together they would contest 80 seats. He said the remaining 37 seats would be shared by the BSP, the CPI, CPM and the Lok Bhalai Party.

He said Mr Ravi Inder Singh, President, Akali Dal 1920, would be the chairman of the Panthic parliamentary board while Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, president, Akali Dal (Longowal), and he would be the general secretaries.

He said the working committee of the party would be constituted shortly which would have 21 members — six each from Majha and Malwa, four from Doaba, one each from Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.


SAD panel to meet on Dec 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
A meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal will be held here on December 26 to discuss various political issues. This was stated here today by Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, secretary of the party.


Tainted officers in race for promotion to IAS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Certain tainted Punjab Civil Service officers are in the race for promotions as IAS officers. At least eight posts are to be filled by way promotion to the IAS from the state service cadre.

A high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, meets tomorrow to decide their cases.

Sources in the Punjab Government said the personal files of at least 10 officials have been asked for. At least two of them are facing vigilance cases. The matter is being dealt with at the highest level and only the personal files and annual confidential reports will be studied by the committee.

Cases like those under investigation by the Vigilance Bureau will not reflect in these files. Interestingly, the Chief Secretary is himself the Principal Secretary for the Vigilance Bureau.

Besides the Chief Secretary two seniormost Principal Secretaries of the Punjab Government will also be at the meeting along with senior functionaries of the Government of India.

The posts have been lying vacant since 1997. The PCS officers in the race are from the 1984 and 1985 batches of the PCS. Once through, they will get seniority with retrospective effect and could be even allocated the 1999 or 2000 batch of the IAS.


Railway staff deface walls during cleanliness drive
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 22
Even as a cleanliness fortnight was on at the region’s railway stations from December 16 to 31, the staff at the railway station here defaced walls of the local station inscribing slogans and pasting pamphlets of their demands prior to their union’s function today.

The railway employees didn’t even spare walls of their higher officials. Slogans were written at the entrance next to the banners of cleanliness drive, on the backside of reservation counters, on the walls of Deputy Station Superintendent’s Office and also the office of Railway Police Force (RPF). However, the RPF later got a coat of paint done over the wall writings.

Sources said the entire railway station had been whitewashed a few months back and its contract was worth lakhs. “There are better ways to convey your demands to the authorities concerned. If the railway staff would deface the station’s wall in such a blatant manner how could they expect commuters to maintain cleanliness,” said Baljinder Singh, a resident of Ferozepore. “Cleanliness drive doesn’t only mean mopping up platforms and keeping railway tracks litter free. They can put up their pamphlets on their notice boards and banners at the platform, but they should not mess up with walls,” averred another commuter Praveen Garg. “It would surely leave a bad impression on commuters alighting at the station,” he added.

When contacted, the Station Master, Mr DK Singh, admitted that the station had been given a fresh coat of paint about six months back. On defacing of walls, he said they could not keep an eye on staff round-the-clock. He said the Railway administration had the power to recover the cost of paint from the employees and they could also resort to the move.


Kin want Kanshi Ram to perform last rites of mother
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 22
Family members of senior BSP leader Kanshi Ram decided not to cremate body of his mother Bishan Kaur, till he was brought here to perform funeral rites, by BSP chief Mayawati. Accompanied by Mr Kanshi Ram supporters from different parts of the state they blocked traffic on the national highway-21 near Khawaspura village for an hour demand that government should interfere to bring Kanshi Ram here in the afternoon.

They staged dharna along the national highway in the evening and decided to continue it round the clock.

Earlier the president of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, (PPCC), Shamsher Singh Dullo, who reached here to meet Mr Kanshi Ram family members in Bunga Sahib village supported the protest. Ms Mayawati should bring here Kanshi Ram so that the elder son could perform the rites. Mr Kanshi Ram is political leader and his family deserves justice” said Mr Dullo talking to The Tribune.

Ms Mayawati should understand feeling of Mr Kanshi Ram supporters, Mr Dullo added.

Mr Dalwara Singh, a brother of Mr Kanshi Ram said that despite a fax message sent to Ms Mayawati, we did not get any response. Only my elder brother Mr Kanshi Ram will perform the rites. We have decided not to cremate the body till he arrived here, he added.

Situation became tense in the evening when leaders of the various organisations staged dharna and threatened to block road again.

The police was deployed in Khawaspura village to control the situation.


Ex-spy’s sacrifice goes unnoticed
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
Mr Robin Masih was just out of his teens when, in 1992, he was nabbed near the international border by Pakistani Rangers, minutes after he had crossed over to that side.

That was not the first time he had committed such an act. He was afterall a spy for the Indian security agencies and had, before his cover was exposed, made over 14 visits to Pakistan, each time returning with important information.

After getting caught, a court martial by the Pakistan army held him guilty of spying and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment. He finally returned home this year.

Now, over 13 years later, Masih, a frail man of 41, is finding it difficult to make both ends meet.

The former Indian spy has now moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for directions to the government to help him earn a living.

A resident of Dhariwal town in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, he also sought compensation from the Government of India for his services to the nation.

In his petition, Masih had stated he became a spy on the asking of the BSF and started making visits to Pakistan to collect information about bunkers, roads, bridges etc, near the international border. He also brought back information about the location of various cantonments in Pakistan.

After his arrest, he was kept in Gora Jail, Sialkot and Central Jail, Sialkot. For over three years, he was kept in solitary confinement and brutally tortured. As a result, he developed a number of ailments.

During his solitary confinement, Masih was not allowed to meet or talk to anyone. Kept in a small cell, he was taken out for only 10-15 minutes in a year.

Later, he was shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore. There too, he was kept in solitary confinement and even kept chained. It was only after a lawyer moved a PIL that the Lahore High Court ordered that no Indian prisoner be chained.

Though his sentence ended on May 26, 2003, he was sent home only in 2005.

In his petition, Masih claimed that because of his poor health, he was unable to do any heavy work and was finding it difficult to earn a living. He doesn't have any family as he didn't get married.

He has prayed that in view of his service to the nation, he should be given a government job and also compensated.


Licences of 2 ultrasound centres suspended
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 22
The SMO incharge of the local Civil Hospital, Dr Moninder Jeet Singh, today raided two ultrasound centres at Kuarli and suspended their licences for a period of one month.

Dr Maninder Jeet Singh, who is the Appropriate Authority under the PNDT Act and headed the raiding team, said that licences of the Gupta Children and Maternity Home and the Navjot Nursing Home were suspended for one month as both centres had not maintained a proper record required under the PNDT Act.

The raid was conduct by a team of three doctors on the directions of the Ropar Civil Surgeon, Dr Yash Pal Singla.

The SMO said that he would be holding a meeting next week with the owners of ultrasound centres and radiologists to provide the necessary information about the PNDT Act.

He said that if during raids conducted later it was found these ultrasound centres were still violating the provisions of the Act, their licences would be cancelled.


Private body to study suicides by farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Farmers Commission, Punjab, has decided to engage some private organisation to study the issue of suicides by farmers in the state. A decision in this connection was taken at a high-level meeting here today.

Sources said, earlier, the commission had planned to hand over the study on the matter to the PAU. However, now it had decided to engage some reputed private organisation for the job.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently asked the commission to go into the causes of the suicides by farmers and also to suggest some package to be given to the dependents of the deceased. The court had passed such an order while deciding a petition filed by Mr Daljeet Singh Jaijee, convener of the Movement Against State Repression (MASR).


Blood donation marks martyrdom day of Sahibzadas
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 22
To mark the martyrdom day of Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, staff and students of Shri Guru Ram Dass College of Nursing organised a blood donation camp in collaboration with blood banks of the Civil Hospital and Bhai Ghanhiyaji Charitable Hospital, Hoshiarpur here today.

Inaugurating the camp, Ms Urvashi Tiwari, Chairperson of the hospital welfare section, motivated students to donate blood regularly.

The chairperson of the college, Ms Devinder Kaur Aulakh, presided over the awareness camp organised on the occasion.


Freedom fighter dead
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 22
Som Nath, a veteran freedom fighter and father of Brig Shruti Kant, died of cardiac arrest here on Tuesday night. He was 98.

Born on November 12, 1907, at Farwain Kala village, near Sirsa, Som Nath had qualified as ayurvedic physician from Lahore and was the first Indian to go abroad for higher studies in ayurvedic system of medicine. Later he joined the freedom struggle and worked with Swami Keshwa Nand, a former MP based at Abohar, from 1927 to 1940. He had served several Gurukuls as a true Arya Samajist. His second son, Mr Shashi Kant was posted in the Planning Commission.


Plot auction fetches Rs 3.18 cr
Our Correspondent

Amritsar December 22
The Improvement Trust earned over Rs 3 crore from the sale of 19 units, including commercial and residential plots. In a press note here today, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, trust chairman, stated that the sale fetched Rs 3.18 crore. He further stated that redress in cases of registration, transfer and NOC would be addressed in monthly camps that would be held area-wise.


Meeting on issues related to water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
A two-day “vatavaran panchayat” is organising a dialogue on “contemporary water issues for Punjab”. The meeting will be held on December 26 and 27 at Jaitu, Faridkot.

A recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Mr Rajinder Singh of Rajasthan, is slated to address the meeting.


A correction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The NRI, Mr Surinder Singh Dhall, who pledged to donate $1 million (US) for health care in Punjab, had yesterday met Punjab Health Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra and not Health Secretary D.S. Guru, as erroneously reported in these columns today.

Meanwhile, health officials in Punjab said a team of doctors would assist Dr G.S. Chahal, Assistant Director, Punjab Health Services, to finalise the action plan by visiting the Dasuya hospital. The team and the minister would work out the modalities on using the medicine and equipment to be sent by the NRI. The minister is keen that the project be free from any bureaucratic red tape.


FLASHBACK 2005: High Court
Fifty eventful years
Maneesh Chhibber
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
The year 2005 will remain etched in the history of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. For, the year witnessed the golden jubilee celebrations of the Court in Chandigarh.

Fifty years ago — on March 19, 1956, to be exact — the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the majestic building that was to house the High Court after its descent from the cool climes of Shimla.

While the year-long festivities will formally conclude in March next year, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and a long list of other VVIPs were in the city on December 10 to participate in the main function.

While the President used the opportunity to give a clarion call to the judicial set-up by saying that “transparency begins at home”, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, talked about tackling on a war footing, the huge backlog of cases in Indian courts and the shortage of judges. The CJI even suggested putting the cases of corruption involving the high and mighty on the priority list.

Earlier in the year, Chief Justice B.K. Roy, who had a running feud with almost all his brother judges for most part of his tenure here, was shifted out to the Guwahati High Court. That his Guwahati innings also did not last long — he ended up antagonising most of his colleagues there also — is another story.

His place in Chandigarh was taken by Chief Justice D.K. Jain.

With the Chief Justice and other judges no longer quarrelling, the collegium of the High Court finally forwarded 13 names — seven of lawyers and six of district and sessions judges — for elevation to the High Court Bench. For almost three years now, the Court has been functioning at almost half the strength of judges.

The year also saw the High Court holding the allotment of a prime piece of land in Sector 38A to Chandigarh Law Institute Private Limited as arbitrary, unjust, clandestine and illegal and opposed to Article 14 of the Constitution. The company is managed by two sons of a sitting judge of the High Court and a standing counsel for the Chandigarh Administration.

The court directed the UT Administration to “take corrective steps within two months”. In a damning indictment of the highly irregular ways of functioning of the powers that be, the court also directed the Administration to ensure that the allotment of public property conformed to the Constitution.

The fact that the Administration is still to take the necessary corrective steps even after almost 10 months is besides the point.

On March 9, in a surprising decision, the High Court also accepted the apology of a former Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Chander Mohan Munjal, and let him off in a contempt case. Mr Munjal was found to have misled the Abohar police in the name of the High Court.

During the pendency of the case, he resigned as Chairman and Additional Advocate-General, Punjab. But, he was soon brought back to the office of AG, Punjab, and this time as Senior Additional Advocate-General.

The year also witnessed the transfer of some judges from the High Court to other courts.

It also saw two new faces taking over as Advocates-General of Punjab and Haryana.

While senior criminal lawyer Rajinder Singh Cheema replaced senior advocate Harbhagwan Singh as AG, Punjab, senior advocate Hawa Singh Hooda assumed the mantle of AG, Haryana, with the change of guard in the state.

The change of government in Haryana resulted in the large-scale appointment of persons said to be close to the ruling elite as law officers.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, led by Mr Atul C. Lakhanpal, continued to usher in changes in the High Court and play host to a large number of lawyers and judges from Pakistan.

The High Court also got an escalator, a first for any High Court in the country.


Judicial Magistrate suspended
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, December 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today placed Mr S.K. Singla, Judicial Magistrate-cum-Civil Judge (Junior Division), under suspension with immediate effect against a pending inquiry.

The formal order was received by the District and Sessions Judge, a copy of which was sent to other senior judges, here today.

Mr Singla, who had just reached his court, was reportedly called by Mr Gurnam Singh, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate-cum Civil Judge (Senior Division), and conveyed the suspension order.

It is learnt that Mr Singla has been suspended following a pending inquiry initiated against him when he was at Chandigarh. However, Mr Singla, when contacted, refused to divulge the details.

Mr Singla is the third judge of Tarn Taran who has been placed under suspension during the past one and half decades.


3 killed, six injured in road accident
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 22
Three persons were killed and six injured when Quallis car they were travelling in collided with a truck (JK-02F-5061) near Naushahra Pannuan village 15 km from here, today.

A large number of residents of the area blocked traffic against the non-availability of health services at the Community Health Centre, Sarhali, as no doctor or any other staff was present when the injured were brought to the hospital for treatment.

Nine persons, including the driver Harjinder Singh, were travelling in it.

The killed are Salwinder Singh, Naib Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur, all residents of Khadoor Sahib. The injured are Harjinder Singh of Dhota village, Paramjit Singh and his wife Manjit Kaur of Khadoor Sahib, Jasbir Singh, Guravtar Singh and his mother Veero of Pakka Dhanoa (Attari).

The police has registered a case against the truck driver who fled the scene.


Ex-sarpanch held for embezzlement
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 22
The Vigilance Bureau yesterday arrested an ex-sarpanch and a panchayat secretary on the charge of embezzlement of funds allotted for development works.

Sources said the ex-sarpanch of Mundi Jamal village, Mr Gurdev Singh and the panchayat secretary of Kot Ise Khan, Mr Ajit Singh, received grant of Rs 8.9 lakh for carrying out development works in 2000-01, out of which they reportedly misappropriated Rs 1.4 lakh.

Following a tip-off, the Vigilance team conducted a probe into the matter and found the charges levelled against them to be true.


Case against traffic Inspector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 23
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau has slapped cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Excise Act against Gurcharan Singh, traffic incharge of Patiala police, and two other cops who were nabbed by the bureau yesterday for accepting illegal gratification.

Disclosing this, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Patiala Vigilance Bureau, said that a case under the Excise act was made out against Gurcharan Singh since 8 cases of IMFL were recovered from his Urban Estate residence following his arrest yesterday. 
Mr Bhullar added that cases had also been made out against two other traffic cops- Head Constable Sohan Singh and Constable Harnek Singh- who were operating hand in glove with Gurcharan Singh. Mr Bhullar added that the cases were registered by the Bureau against all the three cops at the Sadar police station.


Driver hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 22
In a clash between two drivers of private buses one of them got injured near Chapparchiri village, near here, today.

According to information available, the two drivers had heated arguments over the plying of routes by their vehicles which later led to a clash. Mr Devinder Singh got injured after he was allegedly hit on the head by the other driver. Devinder Singh was taken to the local Civil Hospital.


Lovely group no longer has varsity status
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
What is the status of Lovely University at present? This is the question which is being debated in the corridors of the Punjab Secretariat.

Inquiries made from the Punjab Chief Minister’s office have revealed that the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues( retd), has not returned the file sent to him to give his assent the Lovely University Bill passed recently by the Assembly. The Bill will become an Act only after assent is given by the Governor. Sources said the Governor had sought certain clarifications from the state government regarding the Bill.

The ordinance which was issued by the state government to grant the status of university has already lapsed. In fact, after 45 days of the passing of the Bill with regard to any subject by the Assembly, the ordinance issued with regard to that subject automatically ceases to exist.

“As the Bill has not become an Act and the ordinance issued by the government earlier before passing the Bill has already lapsed, Lovely University no more enjoys the status of university at present”, said a senior government officer. As the Bill has already been passed by the Assembly, the government is not in a position to issue a fresh ordinance to grant it the status of university.

The government’s understanding is that only after the Bill becomes an Act, can the management of the group of institutions codify its rules with regard to the appointment of the teaching staff and the powers of the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar and the Controller of Examinations.

At the time of the debate on the Bill, the Congress leader, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, had raised serious objections with regard to its passing by the Assembly. Later, he had also met the Punjab Governor to present his point of view on this issue. However, the Opposition led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal has remained by and large silent on this issue in the House.


ICAR reviews farm research

Ludhiana, December 22
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) team reviewed research progress and prospects of rapeseed and mustard in state agricultural universities of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir here yesterday.

A six-member team headed by Central Agricultural University, Imphal (Manipur), Vice-Chancellor, S.N. Puri included among others Bharatpur-based National Research Centre on rapeseed and Mustard Director Arvind Kumar and principal scientist J.S. Chohan. — TNS

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