P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


4 families ruined after 5 innocents were convicted 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Tallewal (Barnala), December 20
“Please tell the Bhadaur police and Jagseer Singh’s family to return our precious years, land and family members that were lost due to the false story of Jagseer's murder so well-supported and proved by the then police officers and the prosecution.”
Nachhatar Singh/Nikka Singh
Nachhatar Singh/Nikka Singh

Sixty-year-old Nihal Kaur, wife of Nachhatar Singh, one of the five innocent men who spent over five years in the Barnala jail for the murder of Jagseer (actually alive all this time), begins her tale of woes with this curt demand.

The false murder story did not just take away precious years of their life, but also ruined six lives and families of the innocent. Once well-off farmers, they have been reduced to paupers.

She says, “How can anybody be so ruthless to ruin so many lives?"

Pain on her face gives way to sobs when she recalls how her son Jagseer, alias Sheera Singh, who was namesake of their tormentor, committed suicide when on bail after spending six years in prison. “When he came home, he saw how poor we had become. We could not manage even one square meal a day. He consumed poison. With my husband behind bars, my young daughter-in-law, her son and me were left to gather bits and pieces of our scattered lives.”

The revelation that they were innocent did not bring joy to them. Their grief, however, deepened at having undergone a sentence for a crime they had never committed.

No less was the touching tale of 40-year-old Surjeet Singh who lost two daughters and parents for want of medical care in his absence.

“My wife was working as a domestic help. She could not arrange for their treatment. Four members of my family died one after the other when I was undergoing sentence,” said Surjeet, who looks twice his age.

Nikka Singh’s wife left him and re-married when she heard he was sentenced for 26 years. “Who would have ruined her life for me? She was right. When the law could not find out the truth, how could she?” asked Nikka.

Amarjeet Singh, too, could not educate his daughters as his wife somehow managed to make both ends meet after doing dishes in the houses of the rich. 

No high-rises around Capitol Complex
Decision likely to affect fate of mega-crore Tata Housing project in the area
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The Punjab government has banned any high-rise construction within 1 km of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh ‘Capitol Complex’, which houses the Secretariat and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

This decision forms a part of the Nayagaon master plan, which has been approved by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who chaired a meeting of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Board recently.

It was felt that since the Capitol Complex is an iconic structure with global significance, its supremacy in the area should be retained. The Chandigarh’s edict on the other hand does not allow for any construction north of the Capitol Complex.

The decision is likely to affect the fate of the mega-crore Tata Housing project in the area. Sources said as the crow flies, the 1 km radius from the Capitol Complex includes some of the area, which has been bought by the Tata Housing Corporation for the construction of a multi-storey housing complex. The Tata project includes several buildings many of which are over 30 storeys high.

The minutes of the board meeting state that the height of buildings within 1-km radius of the Capitol Complex from the eastern end of the Secretariat building would be not more than 15 m. Here the buildings can only be mirror images of the structures built in Sectors 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the city.

For the rest of the area, it has been decided that current municipal building bylaws be followed. The Municipal laws allow buildings to be constructed up to large heights in case the builder decides to leave huge amounts of open space around the building. These laws also allow group housing to come up in 3,500 square yards of the plot.

While this decision of the board is bound to give fillip to unbridled construction in the area, members have, however, ignored the fact that this area is in the foothills of the Shivaliks, which has been declared as both eco-fragile and seismically sensitive.

Both these facts were in fact mentioned in the master plan when it was published. It was noted in the master plan that since the entire area was eco and seismically fragile, only low-rise construction be allowed in the area and special building bylaws be framed.

Also the government has decided to depend once again on the advocate-general’s advise regarding allowing development in those areas in Nayagaon, which are locked under the Punjab Land Preservation Act-1900. The Act according to a high court order invites the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act -1980. An earlier opinion given by the advocate -general’s office had overlooked these orders and suggested that since the PLPA was a state Act it can be easily repealed by the state government.

Probably keeping this convenient “oversight” in view, the board members have insisted that the relevant high court orders be taken into consideration by the AG before giving his opinion.

The approval of the Nayagaon master plan is the second move in the past one-month made by the state government to open up Chandigarh’s western periphery for development. Earlier, this board had also approved the master plan of Mullanpur. The approval of the master plan is, however, more significant as it borders Chandigarh and is already notified as a municipal body.

Unlike the Nayagaon master plan, the Mullanpur master plan has been prepared by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and has laid down a strict regulation that controls construction and limit the number of persons to 100 per acre.



SAD leaders skip Shaheedi Jor Mela
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Chamkaur Sahib, December 20
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leadership remained absent from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) stage on the second day of annual Jor Mela held to commemorate martyrdom of Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, sons of Guru Gobind Singh, along with 40 other Sikhs.

Only SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra, a handful of local SAD leaders and SGPC members were seen in the SAD political conference.

None of the senior leaders of the SAD was there to be part of the religious ceremony observed in the gurdwara.

SGPC president Avtar Singh, currently on a visit to foreign shores, remained absent from the venue. Similarly, neither SAD president Sukhbir Badal nor Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal reached the gurdwara. No Cabinet minister came to pay obeisance and be part of the conference.

Meanwhile, issues of rising drug addiction and changing demography of Punjab (influx of migrant population) dominated political conferences. While the Congress remained virtually absent from the scene, the SAD 1920 (Ravi Inder group) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had put up stages and the SAD projected itself from the SGPC's stage on the premises of gurdwara in Dewan Hall.

Both the SAD and the SAD 1920 took up the issue of youngsters giving up Sikhism and opting for westernised lifestyle. Speakers on the occasion urged the youth to wear turbans “the pride of Sikhism” and follow teachings of Gurus.

At the BSP stage, speakers exhorted people to bring the rule of BSP chief Mayawati in Punjab and "free" the state from the SAD-BJP and Congress rule.

Gaiety that usually marks fairs, remained a low-key affair. Though the police was seen deployed at various place, but most of it was busy having tea with snacks. 


Akalis stand united in Dirba
Dhindsa, Barnala groups share stage at party rally 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Dirba (Sangrur), December 20
Though everyone knows about factionalism (Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Surjit Singh Barnala faction) in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Sangrur district, it seemed that the party was at least united in the Dirba Assembly constituency as leaders of both groups jointly attended the party rally held here today.

Some said the SAD’s united face would certainly help party candidate Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa from the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency in the ensuing elections.

Thousands attended the rally that was organised as a part of Dhindsa’s election campaign though it was done so on pretext of distributing development grants and water tanks to the panchayats of various villages of the constituency. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP from Sangrur and secretary general of the SAD, distributed grants worth Rs 85 lakh among the panchayats.

Those who shared the stage included Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Gobind Singh Longowal, Baldev Singh Mann, Gurcharan Singh Dirba, former administrative member of the Punjab State Electricity Board Gurbachan Singh Bachi and former chairman of Sangrur Milk Plant Teja Singh Kamalpur.

Talking to The Tribune, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said presence of the leaders of all sections of the party at the rally had proved that the SAD was united in the district and would contest the ensuing Lok Sabha elections with full strength. He also stated that those who had been propagating factionalism in the party in the district had also been proved wrong.

Dhindsa also assured the gathering about setting up of a market committee office and an office of the block development and panchayat officer at Dirba. 


Bid to counter Amarinder effect
CM’s vikas yatra from tomorrow
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 20
Senior BJP leaders will accompany Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who is to launch the first phase of his vikas yatra (development march) on December 22. Badal has planned to visit Khadoor Sahib, Ferozepur, Jalandhar and Lundiana districts in the first phase. The yatra appears to have been planned to neutralise the effect of the visit of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who drew a huge response in Punjab’s countryside during his recent five-day visit.

“The development march has been planned after discussion with senior leaders of the BJP,” said Prof Rajinder Bhandari, president, Punjab unit of the BJP. “Besides me, other senior leaders, including Manoranjan Kalia, will accompany Badal turn by turn during the march,” said Bhandari today.

To a query if the march has been planned to counter the “Amarinder Singh effect,” Bhandari said, “No, it is not so. The SAD-BJP government has its own plan and strategy vis-à-vis Lok Sabha elections and the march is part of that”.

On the massive response to Amarinder’s visit, Bhandari said, “That response was perhaps to Amarinder’s fight against Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and not against the SAD-BJP government”. The Congress leaders were busy settling scores with each other in their party and it was attracting people’s attention, he added. “We want that the pace of development should be enhanced,” said Bhandari.

“The BJP has appointed senior leader Balramji Das Tandon chairman of the Election Management Committee to oversee the party’s election campaign in Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha constituencies to be contested by the BJP,” said Bhandari.

Meanwhile, for rural constituencies, Badal will provide Rs 2 crore for each constituency from the Rural Development Fund (RDF). However, he has planned to give Rs 3 crore to each rural and urban Assembly constituency for development.

In all, he has proposed to spend Rs 555 crore for development projects in urban and rural areas before the elections. The march will publicise the money he gave for various development projects. Badal will also address rallies at some of the places. Akali MLAs have been told to organise rallies. One such rally will be held on December 26 at the Jalandhar Cantonment constituency represented by Akali MLA Jagbir Singh Brar.

BJP for chairpersons in five districts

The BJP wants its party leaders appointed chairpersons of the District Planning Committees in Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur and Amritsar districts. “We will forward the names to the Chief Minister soon for such appointments,” said Prof Rajinder Bhandri, Punjab unit BJP chief. Badal has already appointed SAD leaders chairpersons of 12 districts. Besides considerable political clout, such chairpersons get facilities like official car etc.



Despite CM’s orders, some chief parliamentary secys ignored
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
Despite clear orders of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, certain chief parliamentary secretaries of the state are being kept out of the functioning of their departments.

Some months ago, Badal had ordered that all departmental files be routed through the chief parliamentary secretaries concerned before these were sent to the minister. It was, however, specified that while the chief parliamentary secretaries could write notes on these files, these notings would neither be decisive in nature nor binding on the minister.

Following these orders, while a majority of the secretaries are being regularly sent files by their departments, some departments continue to evade the implementation of the Chief Minister’s orders.

Harish Rai Dhanda, who is the chief parliamentary secretary, local bodies, said in the past almost two years, not a single file of the department had been routed through him. “It is not about wanting power. The concept of chief parliamentary secretary as borrowed from the UK is to train us in the functioning of the government. We are to see the files, go through them, see how the notes are written and learn in the process. What we write on the files is just a suggestion or mere comment,” he said.

While Raj Khurana, chief parliamentary secretary, finance, refused to comment on the issue, sources pointed out that he, too, had never been sent a single file in his tenure as chief parliamentary secretary.

Chief parliamentary secretary for housing and urban development Sarwan Singh Phillur was also not receiving any files from this department. However, he was getting the files from the rural bodies and panchayats department which was also a part of his portfolio.

Chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said fresh instructions had been issued to all departments reiterating that files be strictly routed through them.

The sources added that some department secretaries had pointed out that the order of business did not allow for the files to be sent to the parliamentary secretaries. However, the chief secretary’s orders state that the order of business is deemed to have been amended in this regard.

“These instructions, too, seem to have had no effect on the departments as I have yet to receive any file. I do not understand why ministers and officers feel threatened if we get to see these files,” said Dhanda.

Many of the chief parliamentary secretaries, however, have no problems with their departments. Jagdish Singh Sawhney who has the excise and taxation portfolio said he had no complaints. Similar responses were given by Chaudhry Nand Lal who has water supply and sanitation and Des Raj Duggal who has PWD (B&R). Sher Singh Ghubaiya, chief parliamentary secretary, agriculture, and Mohinder Kaur Josh, who has education, too, said they got to see all files. 


Anti-dumping duty on radials opposed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 20
Urging the Union government to break what it describes as cartel formed by tyre manufacturing companies, the All-India Transport Congress said yesterday that it would hold a demonstration against Union commerce minister Kamal Nath for imposing anti-dumping duty on radial tyres, which were being imported from China and other countries.

Charan Singh Lohara, president of the transport congress said, there was no justification in imposing anti-dumping duty on imported radial tyres because those were not being manufactured in the country. He said anti-dumping duty had been imposed to benefit India companies, which had jacked up tyre prices irrationally. “Tyre companies were virtually looting truckers and owners of other vehicles,” said Lohara. Instead of breaking the cartel, the Centre was helping them to further exploit hapless truckers and owners of other vehicles. To bring down the tyre prices, its duty-free import should be allowed, he added.

Lohara said imported radial tyres were good for trucks because these had better shock absorbing capacity. With radial tyres, trucks were giving better fuel average, he said.

Earlier one lakh tyre was imported from China but its import had stopped, he said. Because of this factor, Indian tyre manufacturing companies had made a steep increase in the price of tyres.

Benefit of recent tax cut announced by the Union government had not been passed by tyre manufacturers to truckers, he said.

Lohara said while the Union government had announced a package for the aviation industry and had reduced the aviation fuel price, but no package had been announced for truckers, who had given employment to 1.5 crore semi-literate youth. 


Chandigarh girl is Ms World Punjaban
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 20
Judged on the basis of their attire, Punjabi communication skills, historical, cultural and literary knowledge about Punjab and gidda performance, Chandigarh girl Mohit Inder won the Ms World Punjaban contest which was jointly organised by the Punjabi Sabhyacharak Sath and a Punjabi TV channel at the PAP Grounds here last evening.

The first runner-up title went to Canada-based Gurpreet Kaur, while Supreet Malli from the US took away the second runner-up title. Each one of the 16 finalists walked away with a title.

Ludhiana girl Satvir Kaur won the Ms Beautiful Eyes title and Sofi Dhaliwal the Ms Beautiful Smile award. Supreet Kaur of Hoshiarpur won the prize for long hair and Paramvir Phull of Jalandhar was declared Smart Punjaban. Patiala’s Pushpreet Kaur was Ms Intelligent Punjaban, Gagandeep Randhawa the best dancer and Sheenam Arora Gidde di Rani.

On the occasion, Pammi Bai released his album “Punjaban”. Singers Ashok Masti and Sabar Koti enthralled the audience.


New Punjab Jail Act
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 20
A new Punjab Jail Act has been framed to replace the present one of 1894. Stating this at a press conference here yesterday, minister for tourism and cultural affairs, jails, printing and stationery, Punjab, Hira Singh Gabria said the present Jail Act was prepared 114 years ago during the British regime, according to the conditions prevailing at that time. The new Act had been framed keeping in view the present circumstances and it would be submitted at the next state Cabinet meeting for final approval, said Gabria.

Gabria said two new jails at Kapurthala and Faridkot would soon be constructed. Construction work of one jail at Ropar had already been competed and work on one more jail at Nabha was in progress. Besides, new barracks in almost all jails to house 7,000 more prisoners would also be constructed.

Later, the minister laid the foundation stone of a building for Sangeet Akademi to be constructed at a cost of Rs 40.07 lakh in the memory of the gharana of well-know classical singers Slamat Ali, Nazakat Ali at Shamchaurasi.


Cops to face action if not in proper uniform
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Punjab DGP N.P.S. Aulakh has shot off official communiqués to all SSPs of the district concerned, asking them to direct all security personnel on VIP duty to don proper uniform or face the music.

In a circular issued recently, Aulakh directed all his men to take adequate legal action against armed security personnel caught moving without proper uniform.

“Gunmen accompanying VIPs are supposed to wear proper uniform of their force, belt mentioning their number, and name plate,” a senior police official said.

“Only a special category of gunmen carrying small weapons is allowed to move in civil clothes. But most of them carry AK-47 rifle, which is a sophisticated weapon and is easily visible, and are required to wear proper uniform to avoid confusion,” said the official.

According to senior police official, a report had been sent to their concerned senior officials and recommended stern and appropriate disciplinary action against them.

“We are committed to upholding rule of law. The police security should not become a menace to others. There should be no unauthorised or brazen display of security - it should be unobtrusive, rather than displayed as a ‘status symbol,” said DGP while talking over phone from Phillaur. It is a serious misconduct and unprofessional policing, DGP added.


Bridge demand-supply gap, PSEB told
Gagan K. Teja
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 20
The Punjab government was looking into the problem of electricity shortage in the state and would soon frame a policy keeping in mind the needs and interests of the PSEB and its officials.

This was stated by Captain Kanwaljit Singh during a press conference at Circuit House, Patiala, here recently.

Throwing a light on the statistics, he informed that the PSEB was facing an annual loss of Rs 2,500 crore and a lot had to be done to curtail it. He said the extra staff of PSEB should work for the generation of more power to match the demand.

On being questioned about the transmission loss, he said the government should hire an independent agency in order to check the household and agricultural supply and to access any problem that arises as early as possible.

Regarding free electricity to farmers, he said agriculture sector provided Rs 30,000 crore per annum, which was a huge amount and the free electricity that amounts to Rs 450 crore was a form of subsidy that was given to the farmers. 


Rain brings hope for wheat growers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 20
Reports of rain from all over the region has proved to be a boon for farmers and given respite to officials of the Agriculture Department, who are confident of achieving the wheat-yield target this year.

“It will give a big boost to the wheat crop, which is at the tillering stage in most parts of the district”, said Amarjit Singh, a senior officer of the Agriculture Department.

The temperature had begun rising over the past few days and was adversely affecting the growth of the wheat crop. However, the rain today has given new hope to farmers who, in its absence, would have suffered a huge loss because of the stunted growth of the wheat crop due to the rising temperature. Agricultural experts in the district had recommended light irrigation to the wheat crop because the temperature had gone up rapidly in the past few days.

Amarjit Singh said the yield could be reduced by 2 quintal per acre as the temperature rose to 26 °C few days back, but now the worry was over.

He said the wheat crop had been sown on 80,000 hectare, as against 75,000 hectares last year, out of the total 1-lakh hectare of agricultural land in the district. 


Experts discuss eye diseases 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 20
Over 400 delegates from across the country participated on the second day of the 12th Punjab Opthalmological Society Annual Conference organised by its Jalandhar chapter here today.

Focused on causes of reversible blindness, including vitro-retinal, cataract and glaucoma issues, known ophthalmologists from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai shared their experiences in the three-day conference.

The specialists also presented papers on subjects like rehabilitation one-eyed patients, eye donation and eye banking, photo-coagulation and other issues. A panel discussion and interactive session on posterior segment and cataract was also held.

Dr. D.S Cheema, adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister was the chief guest of today’s session. Dr R.M Bhatnagar, president, Punjab Opthalmological Society, welcomed Cheema and Dr S.P Singh, secretary of the society, read out the annual report and achievements. he also appreciated chief organising secretary of the conference Dr J.S Thind for his efforts in making it a success.


HC: Govt can transfer employee nearing retirement 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
A Punjab government employee now can be transferred, even if he has less than two years to go before superannuation.

In a judgment the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held the instructions in this regard only serve the purpose of guidelines.

The judgment is significant as the instructions are heavily relied upon by employees for challenging transfer from one place to another at the fag-end of their career.

In the case in hand also, petitioner Narinder Kaur, working as school teacher, had challenged her transfer on the ground that it was contrary to the government policy contained in the instructions.

Citing the instruction, the petitioner had contended that she could not be transferred from her present place of posting as she was to superannuate in two years.

The counsel for the petitioner had added that once instructions had been issued by the state, it was duty bound to adhere to the same in letter and spirit.

The counsel for the state and other respondents had placed reliance on Rule10 of the Punjab Civil Services (General and Common Conditions of Service) Rules, 1994. He had asserted that “a member of service was liable to serve at any place, whether within or outside the state, on being ordered to do so by the appointing authority”.

After hearing the arguments in the matter, high court Division Bench of Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Rajan Gupta asserted: “We are of the considered view that transfer is an exigency of service and an employee is liable to be transferred by the employer where his services are required.

“We are further of the view that the instructions are in the nature of guidelines for transferring the employees from one place to another. These guidelines are meant for guidance of the officer and not enforceable by the employees for the purposes of assailing their transfer”.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Rajan Gupta observed: “Transfer of a government employee from one place to another is incident to service. It does not, in any manner, alter the conditions of his service.

Before handing out the order, the judge added that the school where the petitioner had now been transferred to was just 15 km from the Patiala bus stand. “We, thus, find no ground to interfere in the impugned order. The writ is, hereby, dismissed”. 


Challenging Orders of Acquittal in Murder Case
Counsel files petition in Supreme Court
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
As the suspected murderers of Ravinder Pal Singh, whose bullet-ridden body was found 15 years ago at a bandh of Fatehgarh Bairan, Ropar, were acquitted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the counsel for the deceased has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court challenging orders of the acquittal.

Ravinder Pal Singh was allegedly murdered in 1993 by relatives of a girl with whom he had an affair, but the relatives were prosecuted.

The complainant, Harijan Ramdasia, belongs to the Scheduled Caste and is father of the deceased. The accused were tried for the charges under Section 302, 49 of the IPC by the court of Sessions Judge at Ropar. The case was decided with judgment that was pronounced on August 6, 2002.

It was alleged that Ravinder had an affair with the girl named Paramjit Kaur, alias Daljit Kaur, daughter of the accused, Atma Singh. All accused are related to each other and allegedly planned conspiracy to eliminate Ravinder because of the caste differences. Ravinder had left the military services on June 18, 1992, and started living with his parents in Dhalla village in Ropar.

Soon after these accused came to know about the love affair, they did not tolerate it because of the caste differences.

On September 8, 1993, the accused forcibly took Ravinder to the tube well motor of Karnail Singh and there he was allegedly assaulted by them. Moreover, they tied him with a tree.

The complainant reached there after he came to know about this and made request to leave his son.

However, on the intervening night of February 27and 28, 1994, Ravinder was again allegedly kidnapped by them from the house of Raghbir Singh in Dhalla village and his body was found at the bandh of Fatehgarh Bairan, Ropar.

Later, sarpanch Khazan Singh lodged complaint in this regard. Though the information regarding the alleged love affair between them was placed on record, the police did not register a case against the accused, Sarup Singh, who was working as a superintending with the police and other accused, Ramel Singh, who was posted in the police department.

Ropar Sessions Judge acquitted Sarup Singh and Ramel Singh while convicted others. When the complainant appealed in the High Court, the court acquitted all accused. 


Mega Lok Adalat settles 25,000 cases
Compensation worth Rs 17 crore awarded to litigants
Varinder Walia/Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 20
Compensation worth over Rs 17 crore was awarded to litigants even as 25,000 cases were settled at the inaugural day of Smadhan 2008, a two-day Mega Lok Adalat, held at the District Courts here today.

Justice Jasbir Singh, administrative judge, Amritsar Sessions Division, inaugurated the adalat and inspected the working of its different benches. The district and session judge, additional sessions judge, civil judge (senior division), additional civil judge and other judges presided over different benches constituted to solve problems of people. Separate benches were set up under district officers possessing magisterial powers to handle revenue cases.

Core committees had been constituted at district-level under the district sessions judges. Chief judicial magistrates, who are also secretaries of district legal services authority, judges of sub-divisional courts, additional district sessions judge, police and administrative officers have been included in the committees as members, revealed Justice Jasbir Singh.

He further stated that the adalat had covered cases pertaining to Section 138, Negotiable Instruments Act, motor accident claim cases, compoundable criminal offences, matrimonial disputes, offences under special enactments and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. Besides, some cases had been settled at pre-litigation stage as well.

District Sessions judge S.P Bangarh said since the inception of the concept of Lok Adalat, 273 special lok adalats had been organised in the district whereby 48,528 cases were disposed off and compensation worth approximately Rs 84 crore had been awarded. Similarly, 2,454 cases were dispensed through the permanent lok adalat awarding compensation of nearly Rs 10 crore. The District Legal Services Authority has provided free legal aid in 3,531 cases and free legal advice in 695 cases while 119 cases have been settled by reconciliation.

SANGRUR: A Mega Lok Adalat for Sangrur district was on Saturday inaugurated by the Administrative Judge of Sangrur Sessions Division Justice H.S. Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. For this Mega Lok Adalat, 16 benches were constituted at Sangrur, seven at Barnala, four at Malerkotla, two at Dhuri, two at Sunam and four at Moonak.

The total number of cases taken up was 14,255, of which 10,674 were disposed off amicably. A sum of Rs 6,30,10,861 was awarded to the parties through settlement to settle the disputes.


Singer Balbir Mann held in rape case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 20
The local police today arrested three persons allegedly involved in a rape case, registered against Anupam Kumar, alias Pompy (a local Congress municipal councillor) and five others under Sections 376, 366-A and 120, IPC, at the police station here yesterday. The case was registered on the statement of the mother of a minor girl, who had allegedly been raped by Pompy in the house of Punjabi singer Balbir Mann at Sangrur some time ago.

Local DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said the police arrested Balbir Mann, his wife Sunita Mann and a girl Naina (Patiala). All three persons had been produced in a local court which remanded them in police custody for one day, he added.

The DSP further said three other accused involved in the case Anupam Kumar Pompy, Akbar Ali and Eisha had been absconding.


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