M A I N   N E W S

Badal case hits roadblock again
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, August 8
The case of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and some of his Cabinet colleagues in the Supreme Court today hit another roadblock after nearly an hour long hearing, which began after two years of the admission of his appeal, with Mr Justice D.K. Jain disassociating himself from hearing of the matter.

Mr Justice Jain, who was Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court before being elevated to the apex court earlier this year, told the counsel for various parties that since he had dealt with cases of some of the persons in the apex court, when he was High Court Chief Justice, he would not like to continue in the Bench.

Even as the counsel for all the parties, including Punjab Advocate General R.S. Cheema and Badal’s counsel K.K. Venugopal and former Punjab Advocate General H.S. Mattewal, tried to persuade Justice Jain to continue with the hearing, telling him that all the parties had “full faith in his integrity”, he said “I am sorry, I don’t want to have any pressure on myself.”

The arguments opened with K.K. Venugopal alleging that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had a “personal grudge” against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader as he had denied him a ticket when he was member of the party before joining the Congress.

After opening the argument, Venugopal narrated the sequence of events before the Bench in the pre-lunch session and in the process referred to the case against Nirmal Singh Kahlon, a minister in the Badal Cabinet.

As the hearing resumed after the lunch break, Mr Justice Jain said it struck his mind that he had heard the case of Kahlon in Punjab and Haryana High Court and it would not be proper for him to hear the case.

Mr Justice Jain also said he had passed some order pertaining to an Inquiry Commission in Punjab.

In view of this, the Bench posted the matter to August 21 when it is likely to be placed before Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal for setting up another Bench.

Earlier, Venugopal said Badal's case stood on a different footing than that of former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran's so far as the grant of sanction for prosecution was concerned.

The senior advocate said in Badal’s case, sanction was granted by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker for his prosecution and not by the Governor as he was leader of Opposition holding a Cabinet rank. Otherwise also, as allegations against him were for the period when he was Chief Minister, sanction should have been obtained from the Governor.




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