P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Operation Bluestar
No memorial to victims: SGPC
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 22
The SGPC seems to have dropped raising a memorial to those killed in Army operation of June 1984 in the SGPC complex. After his re-election as SGPC chief for the fourth time, Jathedar Avtar Singh announced that there was no plan to build such a memorial.

Earlier, on May 27, the SGPC’s executive body, under the presidentship of Bibi Jagir Kaur, at Anandpur Sahib had unanimously resolved to build a memorial, Minar-e-Shaheedan Ghalughara 1984, for those who died in Operation Bluestar. The meeting had also decided to lay the foundation stone of the memorial on June 6, 2005, to mark the 21st anniversary of the Army operation. It was also decided the memorial would be built inside the Darbar Sahib complex, but outside the parkarma.

However, the SGPC president parried a direct question why the resolution of the executive body had been dropped after three years.

The SGPC general house formed a sub-committee to finalise the definition of a ‘Sikh’.

Meanwhile, the general house of the SGPC congratulating USA President-elect Barrack Obama said he should solve problems of Sikhs living in America.

Another SGPC resolution urged the Central government to amend the Sikh Gurdwara Act of 1925 by incorporating 10 seats in the SGPC to give adequate representation to Sikhs who had moved out of the country.

The SGPC also resolved to urge the Punjab government to implement the official language in the working of government offices, TV and radio, besides making Punjabi compulsory subject in the Plus II syllabus of the CBSE.

The house also demanded representation of Sikhs on the TV and film Censor Board, besides inclusion of Sikh representatives in the NCERT on the recommendation of the SGPC.

The committee urged the Central government to take up the issue of providing corridor near Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara so that Sikh devotees could pay obeisance at the shrine without visa.

The resolution urged the Union government to continue international flights from the Rajasansi airport for the convenience of people coming to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. It also sought reduction of landing charges, besides facilities of international standards.

It also demanded the demolition of old shops in the Ghanta Ghar Chowk so that a new building could be constructed for parking of vehicles.

The house urged the Central government to abolish the black list so that hundreds of Sikh youths in various jails of the country could start life afresh by visiting India. It also demanded the release of Prof Davinderpal Singh Bhullar on death row for his involvement in subversive activities in the country.


Accused of murder, cops get promoted
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Though these cops of the Punjab police have been booked on charges of killing fellow cops, yet some of these men in khaki are being promoted.

Surprisingly, eight of them have been promoted though they have been booked on charges of murdering three cops. The matter came to light after one of the relatives of the deceased filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1994 and the court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the matter. The CBI had registered an FIR against the cops in February 1997.

According to information received under the Right to Information Act (RTI) by advocate H.C. Arora, DSP Ram Singh was promoted to that post on August 28, 2006, Harbhajan Singh was promoted as SI on November 2, 1999, Sukhwant Singh as SI on March 16, 2000, Jagjit Singh as SI on March 24, 2006, Balkar Singh as SI on May 9, 2007, Phumman Singh as SI on April 27, 2005, Ranjit Singh on May 7, 2007 and Harpal Singh as ASI on May 16, 2001.

It is also pertinent to mention here that the State Punjab Information Commission (SPIO) had also issued an order to the concerned SSPs of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Tarn Taran and Amritsar to inform the Commission as to whether all or any of the proclaimed offenders had since been arrested or surrendered in the Court.

25 police officials, charged with cold-blooded murder of their own colleagues — constable Rajwinder Singh, constable Mukhtiar Singh, Baljeet Singh, who were declared as proclaimed offenders by Rakesh Kumar Gupta, PCS, Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, Patiala in June, 2008, are still beyond the reach of the Punjab police.

The information received further revealed that five of the involved police officials, namely inspector Amrik Singh, SI Ajit Singh, SI Sukhwant Singh, constable Nishan Singh, constables Nand Singh and Gurbaksh Singh, had retired. It was further stated that DSP Ram Singh, posted at Control Room, is absent from duty. His pay has been stopped and proceedings under Section 83 CrPC for attachment of his movable and immovable property are in progress.

Taking a strong note of the cops who were still at large, the commission held, “If the suspended cops are getting subsistence allowance, they could have been nabbed easily.”


CM inaugurates state’s first Fard Centre
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 22
Farmers and other people will soon be able to get computerised copies of land records with the implementation of the ambitious Fard Centre at Nathana here today.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating a first-of-its-kind fully computerised Fard Centre of the state here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the land record problems of farmers, landowners and others would come to an end soon with the computerisation of land records in the state.

“The revenue department is spending Rs 100 crore for 153 such centres in the state,” Badal said.

“After they are fully operational completion, anybody will be able to get e-copies of land records from these centres instantly. This will not only be helpful to people here, but will immensely help farmers, who need not waste time getting information about land and land records,” added Badal.

The Chief Minister said with the inauguration of the centre here, all villages falling under it would be covered and other areas would be brought under the ambit soon.

Referring to the underlying objective of opening fully computerised centres, the Chief Minister said these would ensure clean, transparent and efficient services to the people and save people from undue harassment caused due to inordinate delay by the earlier procedure followed by revenue officials. He said services of private partners engaged for the project included Mircrosoft Corporation, CMS Computers and CMC Ltd.

In his address, Ajit Singh Kohar, revenue and rehabilitation minister, said the revenue records like patwari’s field book, roznamacha, jamabandi, khasra girdawari, mutation register etc would be computerised. It would help in the elimination of distortions and subsequently corrupt practices, he added.

Kohar said apart from the Fard Centre at Nathana, other centres at Dhuri, Dhanaula, Bariwala, Dinanagar, Dudan Sadhan, Badhni Kalan, Bhikhi, Bhogpur, Mohali, Faridkot, Balachaur and Dasuya would be inaugurated and made functional by December this year.

Sikandar Singh Maluka, former minister, Guran Singh Tungwali, ex-MLA and Romila Dubey, financial commissioner, revenue, were also present on the occasion.


If given regular power, farmers ready to pay bills
Sarbjit Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 22
Farmers who grow potato in the Doaba area are ready to pay electricity bills for operating their tube wells, provided they are assured power supply for eight hours daily during daytime.

“We will pay the bills gladly, but we want uninterrupted power supply for eight hours during the day,” said Jaswinder Singh Sangha, general secretary of the Potato Growers Association, here today.

“Actually, we have also informed the Punjab State Electricity Board in this regard,” he said. “But there is no response from the board in this regard so far,” he added. “Even after paying the power bills, we will be financially gaining, provided power is supplied to us as we wish,” he asserted.

“Frequent interruptions in power supply proves costly to us,” Sangha said. Potato is sown in about two lakh acres in the Doaba belt.

Cash-starved PSEB is facing a financial crisis. It is selling power to other states to run the show. Major reason for the crisis is the state government, which has not been providing it subsidy in time for providing free power to the farm sector.

“At present, the PSEB provides power supply to potato growers for about 4 hours daily during the day in Doaba area. However, in the Mehatpur area, power is not provided for 4 hours continuously,” said Sangha. He said most farmers had to pay Rs 100 per day to a labour engaged to operate tube wells and irrigate potato fields. Farmers had to engage the labour regularly because power is supplied only for an hour or two.

“However, in case PSEB supplies power for 8 hours, farmers will have to engage the labour only for four or five days in a month and they would be saving about Rs 2,500, a sum enough to pay the power bill,” said Sangha.

In absence of uninterrupted power supply, they have to operate tube wells with generators and spend Rs 1,000 daily. There are some farmers who have got 200 to 250 acres of land on rent to grow potato. Such farmers have to spend about Rs 5,000 daily on diesel to operate generators to irrigate the crop.

“Assured power supply will mean spending even half of the amount that we are on operating generators daily,” said Sangha. “Even after paying power bills, we will be saving some of the money that we spend now to pay wages to labour and buy diesel”, he said.

Potato growers had also approached the government to provide them water for irrigation from the Bist Doab Canal that takes off from the Sutlej.


Boy’s death in jail: It is either murder or suicide, says post-mortem report
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 22
The Central Jail here has been in a controversy following the postmortem examination report of Karan Singh who died in jail on August 21.

While the report shows he died due to compound group poisoning, the jail authorities claim it to be a case of brain haemorrhage. The report indicates that the case was either of murder or suicide.

A student of ITI, Faridkot, Karan (17) was picked up by the Jalandhar police, along with some others from a house where he had been staying as a tenant in May. The police booked him in a number of cases and lodged in the jail.

Karan’s health deteriorated in the jail on August 21 and he was taken to the Civil Hospital. He died on the table there.

Surinder Singh, father of the deceased, alleged that Karan was poisoned to death by certain jail inmates in connivance with the jail staff. He alleged that jail officials never informed his family about his ill health.

“We received a phone call on the day when Karan was hospitalised and struggling for life. He was put on the ventilator with froth-like substance coming out of his mouth. The doctors told me that Karan was in his last stage and it was a case of poisoning,” recalled Surinder.

Following an inquiry, Karan, a hockey player, was exonerated by the Shahkot DSP and was awaiting release on the orders of the District and Sessions Judge, Jalandhar, on August 21.

Gurwant Kaur, mother, claimed that Karan was in touch with her. “The jail officials had provided him a mobile phone with the money that we often gave Karan for his sundry expenses on every visit,” she said.

“Moreover, we had been giving money to the jail staff on every visit and provided him home-made food,” she added.

“We will discuss many things after getting bail from the Sessions Court,” were the last words of her son she said.

The agony of parents of Gurmeet Singh Nagra, a singer, who also died under mysterious circumstances in the same jail on September 27 was not different. Nagra of Kohala village in Jalandhar district was lodged in the jail on charges of keeping opium.

Gurmeet’s father Kripal Singh lamented that the police had framed his son and did not inform them about his ill-health in the jail. Raising fingers at the police and jail officials, Surinder Kaur, mother of the singer, alleged her son had fallen victim to corrupt officials of the corrupt system.


33 pc posts of doctor lying vacant in Sangrur dist
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 22
Despite the state government’s claims regarding better healthcare services to people, healthcare services in Sangrur district in the light of vacant posts seem to be in a bad shape. According to information, about 23 per cent posts of all categories, including doctors, para-medical staff, nursing staff, technical staff, have been lying vacant in the district. In Sangrur district, there is a sanctioned strength of 1,300 posts, of which 294 are vacant nowadays.

Sources said more than 33 per cent posts of medical officer (MO) had been lying vacant in the district. There were 146 sanctioned posts of MO, of which 49 were vacant. Besides this, three posts of senior medical officer (SMO), out of 15, had been lying vacant. There were15 posts of dental surgeon in the district, of which eight had been lying vacant.

As many as 66 posts of staff nurse, seven posts of nursing sister, 23 posts of multipurpose supervisor (female), 18 posts of multipurpose supervisor (male), 29 posts of trained dai, nine posts of radiographer, 10 posts of operation theater assistant have also been lying vacant. Interestingly, there is only one sanctioned post of matron and that too is vacant. Two posts of pharmacist are vacant. Vacant posts of nursing cadre and multipurpose workers and supervisors have been putting an adverse affect on the functioning of government health institutions.

Sources in the Health Department said due to the vacant posts, several national programmes of the Union government were not producing desired results as these programmes could not achieve the fixed targets in the stipulated period due to shortage of staff of various categories. 



Principal’s Transfer Row
Students storm MC chief’s house
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Fathegarh Churian (Gurdaspur), November 22
Students of the Government Senior Secondary School for Girls here today barged into the house of Ashok Kumar Pandhi, president, Municipal Council, and sat in dharna to protest against false allegations by him and other municipal councillors against transferred Principal Sukhdev Singh Kahlon.

Also teachers, recruited by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), decided not to teach in protest against the allegations of moral turpitude levelled against them by Pandhi and councillors.

Pandhi and certain councillors, along with a few sarpanches and panches loyal to the ruling parties in Punjab, held a meeting yesterday and alleged in writing that Principal Kahlon had been involved in bungling, apart from cheap activities with teachers recruited by the PTA.

They had also alleged that students of the school had been agitating for many days on the principal’s instigation so that he could get his transfer cancelled and save him from inquiry launched against him by the Punjab government.

The students alleged that Pandhi had also used derogatory remarks against them. However, Pandhi denied the allegation.

Later, the students went to town and blocked almost all major roads for hours. Besides demanding the cancellation of the transfer of the principal from this school to Ludhiana, allegedly on political considerations, they also demanded strict action against those levelling false allegations against Kahlon and the teachers.

This issue has taken a political colour as former Congress MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Nirmal Singh Kahlon were levelling allegations and counter-allegations against each other regarding agitation by the students.


PSEB goes into overdrive for CFL use
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 22
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) seems to be into an overdrive to make Punjab a cent per cent CFL-equipped state. It plans to save substantial quantum of power by persuading consumers, particularly in rural areas, to replace their ordinary bulbs with CFLs through a high-voltage “save energy” campaign.

To achieve its target, the PSEB has instructed heads of its various distribution zones to promote use of CFLs by putting banners in front of each of collection centres, distribute pamphlets, take help of village panchayats and organise at least one energy conservation function in every distribution circle.

Besides, zonal heads have been instructed to make sure that PSEB officials use CFLs in their homes. Each division has been asked to select atleast one village to make it a 100 per cent CFL village.

PSEB chairman Y.S. Ratra said the implementation of the programme had already got kick-started with Dhurkot village in Moga achieving a cent per cent CFL status.

The PSEB authorities have appealed to domestic, agricultural and industrial consumers to ensure 100 per cent replacement of ordinary lamps with CFLs at residences, tubewell kothas and industries by March 3, 2009, which, subsequently, will help in peak load reduction and give relief from power cuts.

PSEB officials disclosed that if all domestic consumers switched over to CFLs, the estimated saving of power would be around 1,300 million units and additionally 600 MW of peak load could be reduced. If agricultural consumers also replaced ordinary lamps at tubewell kothas with CFLs, additional saving of power would be 400 million units and further peak load reduction would be 200 MW. Ratra informed that ultimate target of the PSEB was to save 2,000 million units of electricity and reduction of 1,000 MW peak load by promoting energy conservation measures.

With a view to achieve these targets, the PSEB is going to start awareness campaign through radio stations, TV channels and print media. Paper-reading contests in schools have already started and suitable prizes are distributed to winning students. A state-level energy conservation function will also be organised in Amritsar on December 14.


FCI faces shortage of space to store foodgrains
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , November 22
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is faced with the problem of plenty in Punjab. With the corporation’s warehouses and covered plinth (CAP) capacity being full with wheat stock of past two years, it has no space to store paddy being procured by it.

The FCI has covered capacity for 105 lakh tonnes and plinth storage for 60 lakh tonnes. The covered capacity of the FCI has been exhausted, while 48 lakh tonnes is being stored in the open. Since wheat stocks have not moved from Punjab to other states and procurement has been high this year, the corporation has no space to store more foodgrains.

This year, the FCI procured 12 lakh tonnes of wheat and 2.1 lakh tonnes of paddy. Sources said the reason the FCI was facing shortage of storage space was that most of the states in South India were unwilling to lift stocks from Punjab. “These states lift stocks (meant for public distribution, food for work or under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan) on quarterly basis. Though we have asked them to lift their stocks frequently, they have declined on the grounds that they do not have enough warehousing capacity,” informed an official.

He added that the FCI here needed to off-load at least 50 lakh tonnes of wheat, so that additional storage space could be created.

The government of India has proposed to create additional warehousing space for the FCI in Punjab. However, officials feel rather than more space, a faster system of off-loading and disposal of old stocks is needed.

The regional office of the FCI recently tried to off-load its wheat stocks by floating tenders, but it has found few takers. Recently, the regional office of the FCI had floated a tender to sell 40,000 tonnes of wheat. But the corporation got very poor response owing to the high base rate of Rs 1,021 per quintal, fixed by the government of India. “An additional VAT and transportation costs had to be levied on this base rate, which made the rate slightly more expensive than the existing market rates of Rs 1,100 per quintal. As a result, we are able to sell only 12,000 tonnes of wheat,” said an officer.


Govt pharmacists a ‘harassed lot’
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 22
Resentment prevails among the Punjab State Pharmacists Association against the state government’s attitude towards pharmacists, due to which they have been considering themselves as a “harassed lot”.

Talking to The Tribune here today, state general secretary of the association, which represents about 2,500 pharmacists working in government hospitals and health institutions, Swaranjit Singh said due to the appointment of hundreds of pharmacists in rural dispensaries by rural health officers, government pharmacists, who had been earlier uprooted from their place of postings (subsidiary health centres), now were being posted in jail hospitals, court dispensaries, etc.

He further said some of the pharmacists were being compelled to perform duties in the absence of doctors in court dispensaries and jail hospitals. He said in these circumstances, if any mishap happened, the pharmacist concerned would be held responsible by the government directly. But the association would not allow the government to initiate any action against the pharmacist, as he was not competent to treat under-trials and prisoners in the absence of a doctor, he added.

Demanding shifting of the uprooted pharmacists from jail hospitals, court dispensaries and other health institutions, Swaranjit asked the health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla to transfer them to their original place of postings (subsidiary health centres) in rural areas by bringing subsidiary health centres under the control of the Punjab Health Department, instead of Zila Parishads.

The general secretary also said the association had brought this matter to the notice of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) and the health secretary, Punjab, about six months ago, but nothing had been done in this connection so far. He urged the PSHRC to take notice of their representation.


Patiala to get 5.5 lakh saplings
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 22
Patiala — the erstwhile city of gardens — is all set to acquire a thick green cover amidst depletion of greenery as it is slated to get 5.5 lakh saplings of different tree species within a period of two years.

Saplings of neem, ‘shahtoot’, ‘jand’,’ pipal’, ‘khair’, ‘poplar,’ and ‘suhanjana’, will be planted along link roads, state highways, in panchayat land, schools and religious places by the Punjab forest department through the district forest development agency.

The agency has already planted 3.3 lakh saplings on 300 acre of land in Patiala district during the past year. As many as 39 of a total of 50 rural forest development committees formed by the department with active involvement of villagers, have already started working. “We are going to get these saplings planted at a cost of Rs 171.89 lakh on about 500 acre of land. The department has already got a grant of Rs 1.10 crore for this purpose,” said S.S. Bhatti, forest conservator (south circle).

The priority of the department, according to Bhatti, was to involve a maximum number of villagers in the drive to bring maximum rural area under the forest cover. “The saplings will be planted through the forest development committees and every village will get a grant of Rs 4 per sapling planted for its development purposes. The drive will not only bring about pollution-free environment, but will also work as a source of income for panchayats,” said Bhatti.


Religious tolerance a misnomer: VC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 22
“Religious tolerance is a misnomer and a wrong concept, containing many dubious connotations. Religion, in its real sense, does not mean only accepting and respecting others’ religions but, also defending them at any cost. The real examples in this respect are sacrifices made by Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh, the ninth and tenth Sikh gurus, respectively.”

This was stated by Dr Jaspal Singh, vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, while presiding over the 7th Col. Harpartap Singh Dhillon Memorial Lecture, organised by the university's Department of Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, here yesterday.

Every religion, he said, had a separate, distinct and sovereign identity, whether it belonged to Semitic or Indian religious tradition. Describing Guru Nanak as a champion of assimilating these two traditions, Dr Jaspal said he used every technique to bridge together all religious traditions in a multi-faith society.


Badal for Rs 1,500 wheat MSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce Rs 1,500 as MSP for wheat for 2008-09 and additional bonus of Rs 250 above the MSP for paddy for the current season.

In a letter, Badal impressed upon the Prime Minister to announce the MSP for rabi crops to motivate to improve productivity and for farmers’ sake and national food security.

Badal regretted that MSP for grade-A paddy was fixed at Rs 880 for the current season on which bonus of Rs 50 was announced recently. The Centre was trying to shore up foodgrain reserves, but MSP (along with bonus) was lower than the MSP recommended by the Commission on Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP) which was Rs 1,030 for grade-A paddy.


Reserve 80 pc jobs for Punjabis: Dal Khalsa
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 22
Dal Khalsa, a radical Sikh organisation, has urged the Punjab government for formulating a law to reserve at least 80 per cent jobs for Punjabis in public and private sectors in the state.

Addressing mediapersons here on Thursday, Kanwarpal Singh, spokesman, Dal Khalsa, said the Punjab government should regulate the entry of inter-state migrants as more than 15 lakhs youth were unemployed in the state. He said the state government should implement son-of-the-soil theory as was being done by the Maharashtra government considering those as locals who had been residing there for at least 15 years.

He said the Dal Khalsa would hold a public convention on December 14 for an open debate and present their detailed report on this complex issue.


‘Check corruption among advocates’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
Exposed to blanket criticism, the judiciary today had a thing or two to say to the Bar.

A Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge not only held the advocates evenly responsible for corruption in the justice delivery system, but also asked for evolving an independent mechanism for curbing dishonesty among the lawyers.

Justice Ranjit Singh was also emphatic in his assertion that some advocates, known to be corrupt, were holding key posts. Justice G.S. Singhvi of the Supreme Court was present at the function, when Justice Ranjit Singh gave vent to his mind-set on the issue. Justice Singhvi too made it clear that it takes two hands to clap.

The occasion was a seminar organised at the Rock Garden for the judicial officers undergoing training at the judicial academy. All 47 Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges and some of the senior advocates were present.

The question-answer session that followed Justice Singhvi’s address was aimed at further clarifying concepts and issues to the trainee judicial officers.

Punjab Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal stood up to ask Justice Singhvi his views on making the judiciary corruption free. Mattewal said they were time and again bombarded with such questions.

Responding to the query, Justice Singhvi, among other things, said the issue required introspection by all. After Justice Singhvi concluded, Justice Ranjit Singh sought go-ahead to put forth a question.

Justice Ranjit Singh said a question almost always asked was what should be done in a situation where the judges were judging themselves. But what about the advocates?

“Some known corrupt lawyers were holding key posts,” he said.

“These advocates too were being judged by the advocates themselves. They were also court officers and a part of the justice delivery system. The need of the hour was to check corrupt practices among them by evolving a mechanism to judge them.”

A round of thunderous applause by the audience, including all the Judges of the High Court present at the function, followed the assertion. Before leaving the dais, Justice Singhvi said the oft quoted lines: “Taali ek haath say nahi bajti.” (it takes two hands to applause).


Prolonged trial cannot be permitted: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that prolonged and protracted trial due to lethargy on part of the prosecution and the state machinery could not be permitted.

The ruling against the prosecution set up came on a petition filed against the State of Punjab and another respondent by 72-year-old Pritam Singh. He was seeking the quashing an FIR dated November 25, 2001, registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act after the petitioner retired from service on August 31, 1994.

He was, in fact, saddled with criminal liability for “something which he allegedly did during his service between 1991 and 1993”. At the time of retirement, the petitioner was never made aware that there was some allegation standing against him.

Quashing the FIR against him, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled: “He must have learnt to his shock, when after over seven years of his retirement, he was named in the present FIR.”

Justice Ranjit Singh asserted: “The investigating agency has not been very kind to him even subsequent thereto. They nearly took five years to present the challan in this case, which was done on November 6, 2006. Thereafter, charge was framed against the petitioner on October 15, 2007”.

Referring to a reply filed by the state, Justice Ranjit Singh noted: It is disclosed that the FIR was registered on November 25, 2001, at police station, Vigilance Bureau, Jalandhar, against the petitioner and others. No reasons have been disclosed as to why the authorities had to take eight years of the incident to register this FIR.

The Judge observed the investigating agency took seven years to register the FIR. This “would in itself speak and stand in favour of the petitioner, once he makes a grievance of his prosecution on the ground that delay has resulted in violation of his fundamental right to have speedy trial”.

Before parting with the order, Justice Ranjit Singh held: “There is another reason in this case for which the prosecution against the petitioner must come to an end. The petitioner is facing prosecution only because of his retirement. A co-accused, with identical allegations, has been excused from this prosecution, when sanction for his prosecution was declined. This would sound rather discriminatory to the petitioner.

“Is he to be tried because he is no more in the service, when the person in service is not being prosecuted? … Allowing the prosecution to continue against the petitioner would, thus, be unfair, apart from being unconstitutional, being in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India of speedy trial”.


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