P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Badal seeks special package for farmers
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
Punjab today sought a “special package” to help the beleaguered peasantry in the state, especially with respect to farm indebtedness and demanded special incentives on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand to enable it to attract industry in the border areas.

“While the farmer is crushed under heavy debt, it is time for the country to acknowledge and own its indebtedness to the farmer and come to his aid by treating his debt as a national obligation,” Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Highlighting the farm crisis in Punjab, Badal said farm indebtedness had become an alarming problem in the country and Punjab’s farm debts were estimated to be over Rs 26,000 crore.

On minimum support price (MSP), he urged the centre to link it to the overall price index in the country or the MSP should be equal to the cost of production plus 50 per cent as recommended by the noted farm economist M.S. Swaminathan and endorsed by the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture.

“Although agriculture is a state subject, the states had no say either in the fixation of prices of farm inputs like fertilisers and diesel or in determining the MSP,” Badal lamented.

He also drew attention of the Prime Minister to the proposal forwarded by Punjab for creation of an Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) to be financed through a payment of additional sum of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy and wheat procured in the state.

“This fund would be used to reclaim/improve the soil, recharge ground water, develop infrastructure for adoption of high value enterprises, improve marketing and processing besides rejuvenation of irrigation network in the state,” he said.

He drew the attention of the Prime Minister on the state government’s proposal to the centre for an interest rebate of 2 per cent on the interest charged by banks (rebate for 3 years work out to Rs 1203 crore) and also the request made for converting the short-term loan into medium-term loan and interest waiver for one year requiring assistance of Rs 481 crore.

Badal expressed disappointment over the Planning Commission giving “no weightage” in the allocation of funds through various windows to the SC population in the state.

He also asked the centre to heed the long pending demand of Punjab for setting of an IIM, IIT and IIIT in the state.

The Chief Minister sought special incentives to attract industry in the border areas on the pattern of fiscal and other incentives extended to the neighbouring states of Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, which should also be extended to at least four border districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur and Tarn Taran.

He also sought assistance of the centre in setting up at least two power plants in the state, allocation of 1500 MW of additional power to Punjab from one of its power projects.

He also urged the centre to direct GAIL to expedite connectivity with Punjab through the Dadri-Nangal gas pipeline.


Bir Devinder alleges yet another scam
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
A day after former Congress Local Government minster Chaudhary Jagjit Singh was put on the mat by a report of the Privileges Committee in a case pertaining to tampering of official record, serious allegations have been levelled against yet another senior Congress leader and former speaker Dr Kewal Krishan for conniving with officials to suppress a special audit report that exposed misuse of government funds.

This time too former deputy speaker Bir Devinder Singh is the whistler blower. While he has expressed gratitude to the Vidhan Sabha Privileges Committee for vindicating his stand and accepting his claim that the Vidhan Sabha records had been tampered with to save the corrupt, he has sought yet another probe alleging corruption in the Committee on Estimates.

Bir Devinder Singh, himself a Congressman, was the one who raised a starred question 1540 in the previous Vidhan Sabha alleging corrupt practices in an Amritsar Improvement Trust scheme. This resulted in the former Chief Minister asking the speaker to announce the formation of a committee to probe the matter.

Highlighting another incident Bir Devinder Singh has said he “suffered humiliation due to the strong nexus of the corrupt, who conspired together to remove me from the chairmanship of the Committee of Estimates for the reason that I had been bold enough to bring to book one bureaucrat of the Punjab Bhawan, who through a special audit was found to have indulged in misappropriation of huge government funds and corrupt practices”.

He has further alleged that “before any action could be taken on the said special report, which I intended to present in the House, Nachhattar Singh Mavi, ex-secretary, and Tara Singh, who was the superintendent in the said committee (both indicted by the Privileges Committee on Tuesday), in connivance with former speaker Dr Kewal Krishan, played a dirty game of securing resignation of one member of the committee and in his place nominated the deputy speaker (Darbari Lal) of the House, who by virtue of this ex-officio position, became chairman of the Committee on Estimates and I was unceremoniously shown the exit and the bureaucrat involved in the said embezzlement was chaperoned”.

He has appealed to Nirmal Singh Kahlon, speaker of the Assembly, to ask the Committee on Estimates to proceed with the said special audit report and take suitable action.


Fog grounds 3 flights, 2 diverted
Three killed in road accidents
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Rajasansi, December 19
At least three flights, Jet Airways (two) and Deccan Airways (one), had to be cancelled while two international flights, Trans Aero from Moscow and Indian Airlines flight from Sharjah, could not land at the international airport here today.

Airport director Arun Talwar said the international flights had to be diverted to New Delhi due to poor visibility conditions at the airport. Those visitors who had come to receive their relatives had to return disappointed.

Meanwhile, three persons had been killed while many injured in three road accidents since last night. Three persons, including a woman, were killed when their car collided with a truck near Beas. Another accident occurred near Bundala.

The meteorological observatory staff at the airport said though there were no scientific explanations for the city being the coldest in the winter in the plains, its location at the foothills of the Himalayas did make the difference.

The airport authorities feel that a huge air mass, spread over 100 or 1,000 square km, moves towards low-pressure area from the cold regions of Dhauladhar and Kashmir. Finally, it descends on this area bringing the temperature down. Excessive dew, especially during September and October, brings down the temperatures at night. 


Overdrawal of Power
Panel moots penalty on states
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 19
The states in the northern region that had failed to control the overdrawal of power should be penalised and steps taken for ensuring the safety of the northern grid.

These views were expressed by delegates representing various boards and corporations of the northern states at the 6th meeting of the Technical Coordination Committee of the Northern Regional Power Committee held here today.

Among those who attended the meeting included directors and technical members of all northern states as well as power grid corporations and Central sector generators, including the National Thermal Power Corporation, National Hydro Power Corporation, Nuclear Power Corporation and the Tehri and Nathpa-Jhakri Power Corporation.

The delegates said states were overdrawing the power from their quota at their cost as they had failed to introduce automatic load shedding systems. The delegates also suggested measures to safeguard the grid security and minimise the possibility of grid collapse by way of introducing automatic load-shedding scheme to the extent of 4,000 MW, maintaining the grid frequency to a safer level of above 49 HZ.

The committee decided to take various measures to maximise power generation by the members of the northern region committee and gave its clearance for buying power from the neighbouring states to meet the peak energy demand during December and January. It also gave approval to the NTPC to immediately import cargo of liquid natural gas from international market to meet the fuel shortage at its gas power stations.

The delegates announced two special schemes to protect the northern grid in case of outage of major 400-KV lines and the Rihard Dari line that were at the final stage of commissioning by the Power Grid Corporation. The committee reviewed the progress of new generation projects scheduled for operation before the summer of 2008. The projects include 500-MW Lehra Stage-II, 220-MW Dholpur Gas, 440-MW Rajasthan Atomic, 450-MW Baglihar (Jammu and Kashmir), 304-MW Maneri Bhati Hydro, 600-MW Yamuna Nagar Thermal and 1,000-MW Kahargaon NTPC.


Cong for live House coverage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Congress, through one of its legislators, has approached the speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, asking him to facilitate the live coverage of the proceedings of the House, when in session, on Doordarshan.

Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who represents the Bholath constituency, sought the intervention of the speaker to take up the issue with the Punjab government.

The demand comes at a time when the Congress has accused the SAD-BJP alliance of trying to escape its responsibility of evading holding of discussion on important issues facing the state. Khaira has cited the example of the Lok Sabha whose “proceedings are shown live on national television”. He has further written that during the session of Parliament, various panel discussions, involving Lok Sabha members and other experts, are held on important national issues. The same should be done for the Vidhan Sabha.

He has argued that the electors are well within their rights to see for themselves the performance of their elected representatives. If implemented, the move would go a long way in disciplining the members of the house as they will know that people of Punjab are watching them.

Besides serving other interests, the live telecast of the proceedings on the floor of the house will also result in saving the precious time of the legislature, he has pleaded.


Travel agent dupes over 100
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 19
After Chamkaur residents who ended in a Kuwait jail after being duped by a travel agent, another such case has come to light in the Morinda area.

Over 100 residents of Morinda are alleging that a Himachal Pradesh-based travel agent has duped them on the promise of sending them abroad.

Police officials of the district are perplexed at the large number of complaints coming from the Morinda area.

Talking to The Tribune, some victims alleged that they were approached by the travel agent about a year ago. He offered lucrative jobs to them in Australia. We were told that initially we were supposed to pay just Rs 15,000 to the agent. With the said amount, he promised that they would be sent to Australia. The rest of the amount payable to him would be cut from the salary they get in Australia.

Such a meagre amount to be paid for fulfilling their dream to reach foreign land started a chain reaction in the area. The initial buyers of idea approached their friends and kin to grab the offer, and the number of victims of the agent swelled. To keep his market alive, the agent took some of his victims to Delhi, where their medical examination was conducted at a private clinic.

After about six months when nothing happened, some of victims got restless and demanded their money back from the travel agent. However, he flatly refused to return money to them.

A complaint was lodged with DSP Anandpur Sahib who, in his inquiry, exonerated the travel agent despite large number of complaints against him.

With the number of complainants swelling, the inquiry into the case has now been handed over to SP (detective) Ropar Ashish Chaudhary.

The SP had a word of advice for people. He said despite so many such cases coming to light regularly, people continue to fall in the trap of fake agents. They do not collect any receipt of the amount paid to the agents or record of any transaction carried out with him. Due to this, it becomes difficult to nail the culprits.

Jasvir Singh, Gursharan Singh, Narinder Singh, Darshan Singh, Gurcharan Singh and Dalbir Singh, all from the Morinda area, are some of the persons who have lodged their complaint to the police against the travel agent. 


SGPC slams Mann remarks on HC ruling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
President of the SGPC and two senior leaders of the Akali Dal have said that they were shocked at the statement issue by Simranjit Singh Mann on the recent decision of the High Court quashing the minority status granted to SGPC-run institutions. Mann has said the case had not been properly conducted and called for the dismissal of the advocate-general.

President of the SGPC Avtar Singh, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Ranjit Singh Brahmpura said today that Mann had not read the judgement or seen the pleadings in the case. Otherwise, he would have known that all legally and factually tenable arguments to justify the grant of minority status had been made during the proceedings. Mann is perhaps also not aware that a Bench of 11 judges of the Supreme Court in the case of TMA Pai in 2002 had declared that a religious or linguistic minority is to be determined by taking the State as a Unit and not the country as a whole, they added.

A renowned jurist and constitutional scholar, Raju Ramchandran, appeared for the SGPC. During the arguments the role of Sikhs in the freedom struggle, defence and all-round development of the country was highlighted. The unique position of the SGPC as an inter-state body corporate and mini Parliament of the Sikhs was put forth. Definition Sikh as per the Sikh Rehat Maryada, the Gurdwara Act and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act were highlighted. The case was prepared and argued after extensive consultation with Sikh scholars deputed by the SGPC president. Merely because the High Court has taken a view, which is now being challenged in the Supreme Court is no ground to comment on the issue, they added.

Mann must understand that advocate-general H.S. Mattewal’s devotion and dedication to the interests of Punjab, Sikhs and the SGPC was well known.

They urged upon Mann to desist from making such irresponsible, baseless statements only to grab public attention.


Doctors seek law on protection
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 19
Following an enactment by the Andhra government to curb assault incidents on doctors and hospital staff by making it a non-bailable offence, state medicos have also urged the government to pass a similar law in Punjab.

State president of the Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology and vice- president of the state branch of the IMA D. S. Bhullar said keeping in view incidents of assaults on doctors by mobs, this was the need of the hour.

Dr Bhullar said the government should also ensure implementation of a Supreme Court verdict which made it mandatory for the police to seek medical opinion from a board of doctors before registering any case of negligence against a doctor.

Dr Kande, chairman of the legal cell of the state IMA, said doctors had been seeking a similar legislation.


Surety Bond for Indian Visitors
India should oppose UK, says M.S. Gill
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Punjabis settled in the UK are upset at the UK government for deciding to toughen visa restrictions for Indians visiting the country and for introducing a surety bond system for relatives wanting to meet their near and dear ones there.

Rajya Sabha member from Punjab Manohar Singh Gill said here today that Punjabis settled in the UK wanted the Indian government to oppose the bond system which reflected a new kind of racial discrimination being introduced by the British government to target Indians. As Punjabis settled in the UK would be affected the most by the bond system, they were more worried in this regard, said Gill.

Under the proposed measure, each Indian settled in the UK will have to submit a bond of 1,000 pounds for each of his or her relative visiting him temporarily. If five relations visit the UK to attend a marriage or other function, the invitee will have to submit a surety bond for each of the visiting person.

Gill said the Punjab Assembly, which was in session, should also take up the matter in the House. The Assembly can think over the issue and lodge protest against the measure in the manner it thought proper to convey the protest to the UK authorities concerned. Gill said in the UK already Lord Dholkia, Keith Vaz and Varinder Sharma, all members of the British Parliament with Indian roots, had opposed the measure.

The MP from Punjab said UK Immigration and Home Office minister Liam Byrne would soon visit New Delhi to persuade the Indian government not to oppose the measure. However, Gill said he would ask the India foreign minister and other authorities concerned to convey Byrne that the new measures targeting Indians was not acceptable and proposals in this regard be put in cold store.

Gill said there were 2.5 lakh Punjabis settled in the UK, especially in and around London. Most of them were lowly employed and how could they fill surety bonds. Contribution of Indians in the UK was worth 140 million pounds per annum, more than that of the Japanese. Hence, Indians should not be treated badly in that country, he added.


Air carrier focuses on expansion, not passenger care
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Unmindful of criticism for lackadaisical operations, the low-cost non-scheduled airline, MDLR, plans to extend its wings to Amritsar and Goa in a few weeks.

“Why talk of expansion when neither the management of the airline nor the controlling authority, the director-general of civil aviation, have taken any cognizance of the hardships passengers of this non-scheduled air carrier face,” rues Damanbir Singh, a frequent flyer.

“I can understand because of the hostile weather in general and fog in particular that civil aviation operations suffer as flights get delayed, cancelled and aborted. But why not share the information with passengers who are forced to remain glued to seats for hours without being told the reasons for the delay,” he adds.

Though the airline hopes to get its status changed from non-scheduled carrier to a scheduled carrier soon, yet the number of passengers who underwent a harrowing experience in flying from here to the union Capital or back has been swelling.

According to DGCA norms, scheduled carriers are given preference both at the time of take-off and landing than non-scheduled carriers. Then there are peak hour operations during which non-scheduled carriers are invariably denied permission to land at busy airports like New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

One of the major grievances of air passengers from Chandigarh has been after long waits when they are air borne, aircraft does not land in Delhi thereby forcing them not only to miss connecting flights to other cities, but also many of the senior functionaries, including bureaucrats, technocrats, doctors, judges and businessmen, miss their meetings scheduled for forenoon or noon.

On one occasion, the flight, which took off, much behind its scheduled departure time of 7.20 landed back in Chandigarh around noon. “It was an agonizing experience,” remarked one of the passengers of that flight revealing that he missed an important meeting because of the failure of the airline management to notify reasons for failure to land in Delhi. “If the airline was aware it would not be allowed landing during peak hours, why passengers were not conveyed this information,” he asks.

The management of the MDLR, however, maintains that many of the delays, aborted flights and cancellations were beyond its control such as hostile weather.

Some other problems faced by the passengers were because of stricter controls governing operations of the non-scheduled carriers than those controlling scheduled carriers.

“We were facing shortage of pilots endorsed to fly the special four-engine aircraft we operate. But now this problem is almost over as we are training new pilots who are getting endorsements on their commercial pilot licences.

“To become a scheduled airline, we need three aircraft. We already have two in operation. We are getting the third now to become a scheduled airline. We plan to use the new aircraft, which once certified by the DGCA for Indian skies, would be used on Amritsar-Chandigarh-Goa route,” he adds.


MCPI (U) for hike in minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The central committee of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has demanded immediate increase in minimum wages for industrial and agriculture workers in Punjab.

Asking the Punjab government to lift the ban on recruitment also, the central committee, which concluded its two-day meeting here, further urged the government to scarp the loans of poor workers and peasants.

Opposed to the sale of public sector undertakings and privatisation, the committee of the MCPI (U), which was chaired by M. Rajan, the party’s Politburo member from Kerala, also passed a resolution taking serious note of the “monopolists, Indian and foreign, into retail”. The committee urged the Central government to reverse this policy. “Even in the agriculture sector, retail entry would destroy the economy of poor peasants and petty shopkeepers, which will endanger food security,” Rajan said.

J.S. Lyallpuri, general secretary of the party, demanded that the Punjab government immediately release the names of terrorists-turned-police cats, who were responsible for heinous crimes and brutal incidents during the days of terrorism in Punjab. “Vested interests are again out to disturb the peace in Punjab and people should be cautious of such designs.”

The central committee strongly opposed the “anti-people” and “anti-national” policies of the Congress-led UPA government, saying the UPA government was pursuing the policies of imperialist globalisation under the dictates of US imperialism and agencies dominated by it like the World Bank, IMF and the WTO. These policies are generating unemployment, poverty and rising prices.

The meeting also felt deeply concerned over the Indo-US nuclear deal “which is part of the strategic alliance of the Indian government with US imperialism”. Congress-led government of the UPA, especially its Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, is rushing ahead despite a majority of Parliament members opposing this deal, Kuldip Singh, member from Punjab, said.

MCPI (U) further opposed the policy of special economic zones being implemented by the Central government and various state governments, including so-called Left Front government of West Bengal. This policy of establishing SEZs is uprooting and ruining the peasants from their lands and benefiting multinationals.

The committee, in another resolution, demanded the immediate repealing of the Electricity Act of 2003 and asked for an end to privatisation of electricity boards in the country. 


Few buyers for fancy numbers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 19
Despite the reserve price of Rs 1,000 for each fancy vehicle number of PB-13-S series, which was auctioned here today, only 40 were bought by buyers.

The sale of only 40 fancy numbers, out of a total of 148, showed that these numbers failed in attracting a large number of buyers. Only 27 per cent fancy numbers could be sold, though today’s auction was done for many attractive fancy numbers like 0500, 0700, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000, 0151, 0303, 0707, 1212, 1234, 1313, 1515, 2121, 2727, 3535, 5151, 9090 and 9595.

At today’s auction, 40 fancy numbers could only fetch Rs 1.21 lakh. Number 1313 was auctioned for Rs 29000, which was bought by Amar Singh from Malerkotla. This was the highest price of a number, offered by any buyer at today’s auction. Satnam Singh of Sangrur bought number 1000 for Rs 13000, while Darshan Singh also from Sangrur, purchased 0313 number for Rs 7000. Likewise, fancy number 4000 was sold for Rs 6500, number 9090 for Rs 4500 and number 8000 for Rs 4300.

Earlier on December 12 when the first auction for fancy vehicle numbers for the PB-13-S series was held here, Karamjit Singh of Andheri village, 2 km from here, had bought 0001 number for Rs 3.30 lakh for his Safari Dicor. The reserve price of the 0001 number was Rs 50,000. On that day, the office of the DTO had sold 35 numbers for Rs 9,31,500 at the open auction.


Pay subsidy arrears first, govt told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Rollback in power tariff hike is held up with the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) because it wanted the government to make clear the schedule it wanted to follow to clear pending dues of power subsidy to the PSEB.

Sources said the government was to pay subsidy dues of Rs 1,243 crore to the PSEB by December 31 and in addition to it Rs 893 crore was to be paid by March 31. However, as the government is facing hardships on fiscal front, it would not be possible for it spare Rs 2,136 crore by March-end to pay as subsidy to the PSEB. For providing free power to the farm sector and poor sections of the society, the government pays subsidy to the PSEB. The subsidy for current fiscal year was in the range of Rs 2,500 crore as it included some dues of past years.

Following pressure from the BJP leadership, the government, led by Parkash Singh Badal, had decided to roll back the hike in tariff by paying subsidy of Rs 292 crore in lieu of it to the PSEB. After getting approval from the Cabinet, the authorities concerned had written to the commission to roll back the hike in tariff.

However, the sources said before the order of the rollback, the commission had urged the government to submit it in writing how it wanted to clear arrears of the subsidy. Obviously, the hike in tariff will not be rolled backed till the position is clear on the payment of subsidy to the PSEB by the government. That means bills to power consumers will continue to be issued on hiked tariff till the proposal to reduce the same is cleared by the commission.

Meanwhile, the sources said, the government had issued a notice to effect change in the rules to give one-year extension to PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra. A few days ago, Badal had granted one-year extension in Ratra’s current tenure. He will continue as chairman till January 12, 2009.


Rotational canal irrigation announced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Punjab Irrigation Department has announced rotational irrigation for the rabi season by canal water from December 21 to 28. Channels of the Sirhind canal system will run on priority from Patiala feeder, Abohar branch, Bist Doab canal, Sidhwan branch and Bathinda branch, respectively. 


Staff for new dists sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 19
The Punjab State Ministerial Services Union has asked the Punjab government to recruit ministerial staff for the newly created districts, Mohali, Tarn Taran and Barnala, as work in these districts is being run by shifting staff from other districts.

A member of the state advisory committee of the union Raj Kumar Arora said here today that ministerial employees had been feeling over-burdened.


Law Point
Now, court can modify bail orders
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today agreed with the argument that an order in a bail petition was neither judgment nor sentence.

l rThe development is significant as the court can now modify the orders granting bail to an accused without the action amounting to review of the same.

The vital ruling on powers of courts to look into its own bail orders came on a petition filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Pronouncing the orders on his petition for extension of interim protection granted to him, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: As per counsel (for the former Chief Minister), order in a bail petition is not a judgment, final order or a sentence, which would mean a decision terminating a criminal proceeding pending before a court.

“The submissions by counsel for the petitioner are not without substance as it is well known and understood that second bail application is never barred…. It is not rare to find that applications are even moved in cases where bail petitions are allowed or rejected in routine.

“The courts have been entertaining bail petitions in cases where it has granted bail and some offences have been added subsequently. Even there is no complete ban on entertaining second application for anticipatory bails, where the earlier one has been rejected, on merit if there is any change in fact, situation or law”.

The issue had cropped up after the state of Punjab had claimed that the application for extension of interim protection was not maintainable as the court could open the order after it has attained finality in the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, the petitioner’s counsel had claimed that an order granting bail to an accused was not final.

As such, there was no bar in taking it up again for modification and the action did not amount to review of the order.

The counsel had also quoted examples to drive home the idea that courts have been modifying bail orders without actually reviewing the same.

Among other things, he had claimed the court was modifying the conditions of bail, like directing the accused to surrender passport; or was even canceling bail applications, without actually reviewing the orders.


Relief for Amarinder
HC: Custody not required, apply for regular bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the need for taking Punjab’s former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in custody in an alleged corruption case was ‘not made out’.

“What for is he now required to be taken in custody is not really understood? Once the court had considered submissions made by both sides (the state of Punjab and the former Chief Minister) and had viewed that custodial interrogation was not needed; and when now there is no change in that situation, the need for taking the petitioner in custody can really not be urged,” Justice Ranjit Singh of the high court observed.

The Judge added: “To be fair to the state counsel, it is not submitted that they want to take the petitioner in custody.”

Asking Capt Amarinder Singh to apply for regular bail, Justice Ranjit Singh also ruled that his application for the same would be considered in light of the High Court observations. The Judge also directed the extension of interim protection granted to him till then.

The former CM was granted pre-arrest bail on July 30 till the presentation of challan in the case. A day after the same was presented, Singh moved an application for extending the protection granted to him.

Pronouncing the orders on his application in a jam-packed courtroom this afternoon, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: “The duration of the order passed by this court on July 30 was made limited to see if anything emerged against the petitioner during the course of investigation. The investigating agency did not consider it appropriate to even summon the petitioner to join any investigation. No need for taking the petitioner in custody, as such, is made out or seen”.

Elaborating, Justice Singh added: “The state counsel was asked to inform the court if the petitioner was even called for joining the investigation. He has not been even summoned to join the investigation after July 30. Obviously, there is no change in the situation as was existing on July 30, when the court viewed that need for custodial interrogation was not made out.”

In his detailed order, Justice Singh observed: “The order dated July 30 was impugned by the state by filing a SLP, which has since been dismissed. It is, thus, clear that this court was of the view that case for custodial interrogation of the petitioner is not made out and that he was required to be protected, which was to inure not for any limited duration, but till some viable change was to take place in the case. This view has found approval of the Supreme Court as can be discerned from the order dismissing the SLP.”

The Judge also observed: “On completion of investigation, the challan against the petitioner has been presented. Now the matter is between the court and the petitioner. The requirement is to see that the petitioner is available for the purpose of trial. Nothing is stated before me to suggest that the petitioner’s liberty is required to be curtailed for ensuring smooth progress of the case. The petitioner, accordingly, will apply for regular bail, which shall be considered in light of the observations.”


Ex-minister’s interim bail confirmed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The anticipatory bail plea of Punjab’s former minister Ch Jagjit Singh and three others in the Ludhiana city centre case was ‘made absolute’ by the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

Taking up the former minister’s petition, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled that no purpose was likely to be served by taking petitioner in custody. The investigation was complete and challan had been presented, and the petitioner now has to face prosecution trial. As such, interim bail order was ‘made absolute’.

The bail orders of Sanjit Kumar Gupta, Saurabh Gupta and Rajesh Singh were also ‘made absolute’.


High Court
No admissions without Indian nursing council nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Restraining four institutes in Punjab from admitting students to nursing course, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that the approval of Indian Nursing Council (INC) could not be taken for granted.

The institutes are Mohali-based Mata Sahib Kaur College of Nursing, Taran Taran-based Mai Bhago College of Nursing, Ludhiana-based Kullar College of Nursing and Faridkot-based Baba Farid Education and Medical Research Society.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by Shiv Shakti Educational Society, the Bench, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, ruled: “The respondents were not entitled to make admissions as the state government or the State Nursing Council was not entitled to give such a permission without the prior approval of the INC, and affiliation by the university. The respondents are restrained from making further admissions without approval of the INC and affiliation by the University….

“The stand of the State Nursing Council and the state government that admissions could be made pending approval by the INC cannot be upheld. Approval of the INC could not be taken for granted. As per statutory regulations, approval of the INC was required before admissions were made…. Grant of permission to the respondents (the four institutes) to make admissions cannot be held to be valid”.

The petitioner, through counsel Charanjit Sharma, had sought the quashing of a corrigendum dated November 7 granting permission to certain institutes to admit students on the basis of consent for affiliation by Baba Farid University, subject to the condition that registration of the institutes would be done after INC’s permission.

In their detailed order, the Bench ruled: An institute was required to obtain no objection/essentiality certificate from the state government, get an inspection done from the INC for permission to start the programme, get permission from the State Nursing Council and the examination board/university before admissions were made. The view taken by a single Bench of this court in Mata Amrit Kaur Welfare Trust will stand over-ruled.

The Bench further ruled: The regulation framed by the INC itself lays down that even after permission of the INC, the institute has to get the approval of the university before making admissions. The view taken by a single Bench of this court in Dr Shyam Lal Thapar Nursing Foundation will stand modified.

The judge also held: The INC was competent to lay down a procedure to cross check refusal of affiliation by the university; and in fact it is desirable for the INC to lay down such a procedure to check arbitrariness and to avoid delay.

Before partying with the judgment, the judges held: The petitioner was not entitled to a direction for the grant of affiliation, but could apply for fresh inspection to the university or to the INC and, thereafter, to take its legal remedied. The INC would take decision in accordance with law within two months from the date of receiving the order’s copy.

Nomination not pre-requisite for family pension

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that nomination was not a pre-requisite for grant of family pension since the same flowed from statutory rules governing the scheme of family pension.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia, pronounced the verdict on a petition by Gurdev Kaur of Chandigarh. She was denied family pension by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) following the death of her husband Harbhajan Singh Sidhu on November 24, 2006. He had retired as Modeler on May 31,1992.

The claim was denied on the ground that Sidhu on his retirement had conveyed to the department in writing that he did not wish to nominate any of his family for family pension, since he was not having cordial relations with them.

The Bench held the family pension could not be withheld for want of nomination or on the ground that the widow did not have cordial relations with her husband. Allowing the petition, the bench directed the PSEB to pass fresh order for granting family pension to the petitioner in accordance with the law within a month.

Dimpa gets bail

Justice S.S. Saron of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted regular bail to Punjab’s former Congress MLA Jasbir Singh alias Dimpa. He was arrested in connection with violent incidents on January 30 during campaigning in Beas constituency of Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The petitioner was a candidate.

In the incidents, a Shiromani Akali Dal supporter was killed and some others injured. Due to the violence, the Election Commission had deferred polling in the Beas constituency. He was lodged in Amritsar jail since his surrender before the police.

Challenging the lower court’s order declining his prayer for bail, Dimpa in his petition claimed that he had been implication in the matter. As such, he should be granted bail.

Mann seeks blanket bail

SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a seven-day prior notice if a case was to be registered against him.

In his petition, Mann has expressed apprehensions of his implication in a false case. Mann added that he already had as many as 60 cases registered against him. The latest was the one registered against him was under section 153-A of IPC at Patiala on the ground that he had given statement to the Press on his refusal to accept Bhagat Singh as his hero as he had “killed innocent persons”.


Justice Ashok Bhan of the Supreme Court of India is scheduled to preside over a seminar on “Intellectual Property Rights: Traditional Knowledge”. It is being organised by Chandigarh: Asia Pacific Jurist Association’s Punjab and Haryana Chapter on Thursday at the Government Art Museum auditorium, Sector 10.

The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijender Jain, would preside over the event.

Tarn Taran DEO penalised

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today imposed costs of Rs 20,000 on the district education officer and department of education, Tarn Taran, in a matter alleging delay in reimbursement of medical bills of a retired JBT teacher

The court had ordered on November 12 that the amount be paid to the petitioner Kashmir Kaur within three weeks. Before the expiry of this period, the department gave the court a cheque on November 27. The Bench observed that the petitioner could have been spared the effort to move the court for reimbursement.

Virk for CBI probe

Claiming implication, Punjab’s former DGP S.S. Virk today moved a fresh petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the corruption case registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Virk had earlier also moved a petition seeking directions for a CBI probe. In the present petition, Virk mentioned that the government went out of the way in appointing S.S. Saini as the director, Punjab Vigilance. The matter is expected to come up for hearing on Thursday.


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