P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cotton farmers relent, call off stir
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 30
After prolonged negotiations, the protesting farmers reached an agreement with officials and then called off their rail roko stir at around 11 pm today. Besides elderly protesters, a number of young children were also seen in the agitation along with their family members. The DC was observed talking on phone to senior officials of the state government to apprise them of the situation and receive orders. 

Representatives of the farmer unions, regional manager of the CCI, VP Nagpal, finance commissioner (development), Navreet Singh Kang, DC Rahul Tewari and SSP Ashish Chaudhary held a closed door meeting. 

Later, the DC disclosed the terms and conditions of the agreement. CCI’s VP Nagpal confirmed it. Speaking at the site of the stir, in the middle of railway tracks, Tewari said CCI officials would ensure the easy sale of cotton crop in all mandis. Places where the CCI had not been purchasing the crop, it would be made possible with the intervention of the state government. Some other purchasing agency may also be deputed for this purpose, the DC informed. Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, a farmer leader, announced that the SSP had assured accommodation at night for the protesters. 

Cotton farmers block rail traffic; 5 trains cancelled
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 30
Intensifying their protest against the alleged anti-farmer attitude of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) and the lax attitude of the administration in sorting out the tussle over the purchase of cotton, members of six farmer unions today blocked the Bathinda railway junction.
Farmers stage a dharna on railway tracks in Bathinda on Tuesday.
Farmers stage a dharna on railway tracks in Bathinda on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Kulbir Beera

Around 7,500 passengers were affected as five trains had to be cancelled at the Bathinda railway station while seven more were stranded en route.

At around 1.45 pm, the farmers, who had been on a dharna outside the regional office of the CCI here, reached the railway junction and blocked the Ferozepur-Rewari passenger train, which had to be sent back.

The farmers alleged that officers of the CCI had been purchasing cotton crop at a rate less than the MSP.

Joginder Singh Ugrahan, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Ekta (Ugrahan), said the CCI officials were not purchasing cotton at the rate of Rs 2,800 per quintal, which was fixed as the MSP.

The dharna will be lifted only when their demands were fulfilled, said Shingara Singh, a leader of the farmers.

According to the list given to the district magistrate by the railway authorities, two trains for Sriganganagar-Ambala, one for Bathinda-Suratgarh, Ferozepur-Rewari and Bathinda-Ambala had been cancelled and the fare was being refunded to the passengers.

The Rewari-Fazilka train was stopped at Shergarh, Bikaner-Bathinda at Gurisar Sainewala, Bikaner-Abohar train at Hanumangarh, Ambala-Bathinda train at Rampura, Rewari-Bathinda train at Sirsa, Delhi-Sriganganagar at Jakhal and Jammu Tawi-Ahmedabad train at Ferozepur.

District Magistrate Rahul Tewari said: “The matter is between the CCI and the farmers. We can’t sort it out on our own. We have been doing our best to lift the blockade.”

CCI’s manager V.P. Nagpal said: “The CCI is firm about the decision and we have been doing everything under the parameters. About the “unreasonable” demand of the farmers, we are helpless.”


Badal talks polls during vikas yatra
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, December 30
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal virtually converted his vikas yatra into an election yatra by beginning his speech during the much-awaited sangat darshan programme in Balluana village in this subdivision today with an appeal to the gathering for supporting the SAD-BJP candidate in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Claiming the NDA government, led by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had helped the alliance in Punjab to take up major development projects, Badal promised to create similar situation if the Congress-led UPA was defeated this time.

The Chief Minister distributed cheques worth Rs 5.91 crore among representatives of panchayats of the Balluana segment besides announcing Rs 19 crore for repair of 53 km link roads, 91 crore for construction of water courses, 25 crore for strengthening of sub-canals and Rs 11.96 crore for remodelling of distributaries in the Balluana constituency.

Rewarding the Bishnoi community for supporting the SAD candidate in last assembly elections, Badal assured that a community centre would be developed to pay homage to Guru Jambheshwar, the founder of the community, at Seetogunno subtehsil besides a model school at Sukhchain village in the wildlife sanctuary area.

While ignoring the demand for creating a sub-tehsil at Balluana, he announced special grants of Rs 25 lakh each for Seetogunno and Arniwala sub-tehsils. He was also bold in conceding that his party was faction ridden in the segment.

Accusing the Congress of “fooling the electorate” to remain in power after the Independence, Badal said the Congress governments in state and at the Centre had failed in ensuring basic amenities for the common man.

MLA Gurtej Singh Ghuriana presented a sword to the Chief Minister as memento.


CM clears file to increase minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The way has been paved for a hike in the minimum wages of industrial labour in Punjab with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal giving the go-ahead to a minimum wage of Rs 3,200 per month.

Even though the state government had initiated the exercise to increase the rates in April this year, the process was partially blocked by the industrial lobby, which had even recently pleaded for a review of the labour charges in view of the recent economic meltdown.

The government was however also under pressure from labour unions and the Chief Minister has now finally cleared the file.

Minimum wages in Punjab have not been revised since 2001 and presently minimum wages of industrial workers have been fixed at Rs 2,620 per month.

Neighbouring state Haryana will however continue to remain ahead of Punjab with minimum wages for unskilled industrial labour being fixed at Rs 3,586 per month.

More than 5.50 lakh organised labour and around 25 lakh unorganised labour force is likely to be benefited by the decision. 

Workers seek Rs 6,500 minimum wages
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 30
Activists of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union (AICCTU) today held dharna in front of the deputy commissioner’s office here seeking Rs 6,500 minimum wages.

Later, they also burnt an effigy of the Badal government at the traffic lights chowk here.

Earlier they gheraoed the office of the assistant labour commissioner (ALC) here for one hour and then marched through the main bazaar raising slogans in support of their demands, including 200 days of work in a year with Rs 200 per day wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), weekly holiday, eight-hour duty for workers and waiver of loans of workers.

State president of the Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union (AICCTU) Tarsem Jodhan, state secretary of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha Bhagwant Singh Samaon, district secretary of the CPI (ML) Liberation Harbhagwan Bhikhi, district president of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha Pargat Singh Bir and labour leader Sher Singh Dhandholi addressed the protesters.


Curbing Drug-addiction
Chawla favours two chemists per village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The Punjab government, to curb sale of habit-forming drugs, has decided not to allow more than two chemist shops in a village.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla stated this here today. She added that the decision followed the recommendation of the drug advisory committee, which had met last week and suggested not more than two licences be issued for a single village.

She added that initially even the two licence holders in the village would not be allowed to sell these drugs. However, after the chemist shops starts getting prescriptions from registered doctors of the area the licence holder would have to seek permission from the department to sell these drugs on prescription.

She added it was bound to curtail the sale of habit-forming drugs in rural areas. She however admitted that there was no way she could order the closure of chemist shops in villages where the number was more than two. Chawla said such drugs worth Rs 3.1 crore had been seized in a year.

The minister added that there had been 33 per cent increase in deliveries taking place in government hospitals and the number had gone up from about 30,000 to more than 40,000 in one year. The state had also introduced monitoring of health services by the community, which would involve the setting up of community monitoring committees at various levels.

She said students of government primary and middle schools of the state were being tested for various illnesses. “As many as 30 students in every one lakh are suffering from congenital heart disease and to get these students treated at government expense we have tied up with the PGIMER, Chandigarh,” she said.

She added that posts of medical and para-medical staff had been filled to some extent and would continue in next year.

The state in charge of the National Rural Health Mission, Satish Chandra added that more than 2,500 medical and paramedical staff had been recruited on contract for the implementation of the mission’s programmes.

She highlighted that all district hospitals of the state would soon have allopathic, ayurvedic and homoeopathic medical facilities under one roof. Doctors and other requisite staff had been appointed for the facility in these hospitals. 



LS Polls
SAD (A) against state terror, poverty, excesses on minorities
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 30
The agenda of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) for the Lok Sabha (LS) elections will be to fight against state terrorism, poverty and genocide of minorities.

To a question here on Sunday, president, SAD (A), Simranjit Singh Mann said the party would also work for the protection of minorities in the country and against unemployment and injustice in society.

Mann said the SAD (A) opposed war between India and Pakistan as Sikhs were not ready to commit suicide by participating in a war to be initiated by Delhi and Islamabad. He said when the Indian government knew Pakistan had nuclear weapons, why had it not constructed bunkers (nuclear shelter) for Sikhs of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan on the pattern of bunkers constructed in European countries. He said if a nuclear war took place, Sikhs would face maximum loss.

Mann said Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir, which had a large Sikh population, should be declared “no-fly zone” so that no war aircraft of India or Pakistan could fly over these states.

He also opposed the anti-terror law, enacted recently by the Union government, saying the Centre could not enact such a law as the affairs related to the Home Department were part of the state list. He also said before enacting this law, the government had not sought opinion of the public or sent it to the Parliamentary Committee (Home).

Mann said he was ready to appear in a Mumbai court for Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman captured for Mumbai attacks, if the court allowed him.


Tougher challenges ahead for police
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Support, patronisation and even active participation of bigwigs, both from political and bureaucratic fields, are not only extending jurisdiction and expanding operations of drug smugglers, land mafia and other unlawful groups engaged in human smuggling, white-collar crime and illicit trades, but are also putting the ageing police force of Punjab under tremendous pressure.

Instead of remaining a simple law and enforcement agency, given the job of containing and investigating the crime, the police has now been burdened with new tasks, including detection and solving cyber crimes, white collar or economic offences besides keeping a tab on anti-social and anti-national elements that may be working at the behest of terrorist outfits.

The Punjab police may have successfully fought the nations’ battle against terrorism, but that is history now. Armament, equipment and machinery it had acquired 20 or 30 years ago in its war against terrorism have now become redundant. The average age of its constabulary, the main fighting force, is 35 plus. It does have commando battalions. But, like other state police forces and central police organisations, it has same bulletproof jackets that cannot even protect them from a simple 303 fire what to talk of AK 47s, Ak 74s or other recent versions of this assault weapon.

Being a border state, policing is different here than in the states that are far-off from the borders of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. Physical fitness alone is not enough to stave off challenges from terrorists who are trained at high-tech and modern centres with the latest equipment.

2009 may be tougher not only because the state, like the rest of the country, will go for the general elections. Besides, increased deployment for securing polling stations, polling booths, candidates, political leaders and members of the election staff, the state police will have onerous task of keeping the state free from any threat of terrorist strikes.

Recent directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and also its own initiatives may have saved a few thousand of trained policemen for use elsewhere, yet the tasks ahead for the police are far too heavy.

Drugs continue to wreak havoc with not only the youth, but also with its fragile economy. Land mafias, active in connivance with politicians and the police, are making genuine and law-abiding citizens increasingly lose faith in the law and order agency. The worst hit are the NRIs as hundreds of cases of their untended properties are being grabbed by unscrupulous elements.

Though the state decided to go for the amended Police Act, its implementation appears slow and tardy. Though it is a watered down version of the draft bill, it has some provisions that give it little more powers to act freely than just follow political bosses.

Recruitment on merit and training are the key areas that need watch of well-meaning men of integrity. The general elections is the time when the police is required to put up its best foot forward and ensure no victimisation, as had been alleged by the opposition.

Looking back, the number of murders, rapes, kidnappings, snatchings, burglaries and thefts may have remained more or less the same as of last year, showing a marginal increase or decrease, the cases of seizures of drugs have shown a phenomenal increase.

In spite of numerous announcements, the police also has a mammoth task of tracking down its ever-growing number of proclaimed offenders. And it is this list, if carefully scrutinised that has names of some bigwigs.


Teachers to ‘greet’ CM with black flags
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 30
In view of the proposed tour of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on January 4, 7 and 11 to Sangrur district to distribute development grant, the ETT Adhyapak Union has plans to show black flags at Badal’s functions to remind him of the promise of adjustment in the Education Department made during the Assembly elections to ETT teachers working under Zila Parishads and Municipal Councils.

District president of the union Sukhvir Singh said yesterday that a sub-committee had been formed to run the agitation in case main union leaders were arrested before Badal’s visit to foil the agitation.

He said the sub-committee would lead the agitating teachers and organise agitation programmes so their names were not being disclosed at this stage.

He said the union had announced that the ETT teachers would remind Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, wherever they would go to distribute grants or hold sangat darshan, that they had promised ETT teachers regarding their shifting to the Education Department from zila parishads and municipal councils.

Sukhvir said the ETT teachers would “greet” Badal with black flags at the functions. The sub-committee would draw up tougher programmes if required, he said. The block presidents had also been asked to form sub-committees for the purpose.


Punjab farmers nation’s heroes in ’08
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 30
Real heroes of the country in 2008 are Punjab’s farmers who have made the country, which faced a crisis on food-security front in 2007, food surplus with their huge contributions of wheat and rice to the Central pool.

Thanks to the contribution of Punjab’s farmers, the union government has decided to export 20 lakh tonne of wheat through diplomatic channels to African and other friendly countries.

In other words, food grains produced by Punjab’s farmers will be used now by the External Affairs Ministry for diplomacy.

During 2008, Punjab contributed about 106 lakh tonne of wheat, about 50 per cent of the total wheat, to the Central pool and is in the process of contributing about 90 lakh tonne of rice by way of shelling of 132 lakh tonne of paddy procured for this purpose.

“Food security is the biggest security for any nation and our farmers have provided it to the country that had imported several million tonne of wheat from various countries to meet food grain shortages in 2006-07,” said Balwinder Singh Sidhu, Director, Agriculture, Punjab.

Interestingly, the union government has not rewarded Punjab’s farmers in any manner for making the country food surplus in a situation when the entire world is facing economic meltdown. Of the loan waiver scheme announced by the Centre, the benefit to Punjab’s farmers proved to be minimal.

They have not only made the country food surplus once again but they have also come to the rescue of the Parkash Singh Badal government that has been facing a financial crunch. Owing to record productivity of paddy and wheat during 2008, the state has got a revenue of about Rs 2,500 crore by way of VAT, market fee, Rural Development Fund and special cess, etc, from the sale of paddy and wheat.

“Badal is holding sangat darshan programmes these days because of the money being made available to him from the Rural Development Fund and Mandi Board that earn revenue from the sale of paddy and wheat, etc”, said a senior officer.

However, the huge production of paddy and wheat has brought some troubles for Punjab’s food grain mangers. For next four months, most busy man will be Punjab’s Food and Supplies Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon. “As we are short of space for stacking the new wheat in March-April, 2009, we have urged the union government to take away at least 50 lakh tonne of wheat from Punjab to other states”, says Kairon. 


6 IAS officers shifted

Chandigarh, December 30
The Punjab government today transferred six IAS officers. Gurdev Singh Sidhu, director, Rural Development and Panchayats and ex-officio secretary, has been given additional charge of joint development commissioner, IRD. Surinderjit Singh Sandhu has been transferred as presiding officer, State Colleges and State Schools Tribunal.

Jaspal Singh becomes secretary, Revenue; HIS Grewal goes as secretary, Public Grievances and Pensions; Kirandeep Singh Bhullar has been promoted secretary, Home Affairs and Justice. Ashok Kumar Gupta has also been promoted secretary, Agriculture. — TNS


Exams rescheduled
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
Following the directions of the Election Commission of India, the PSEB has rescheduled examinations of the middle, secondary and senior secondary classes. Releasing the date sheet, a board official said the examinations of secondary classes would commence from March 6, and that of middle and senior secondary level from February 21.

Examinations of middle and matriculation will be held in the morning session and for the senior secondary level, in the evening session. Around 5.25 lakh students would appear in the middle class examinations and 3.35 lakh in matriculation.

The board will give additional 15 minutes to the students of secondary and senior secondary level to go through the question paper.


‘Lack of proper sterilisation a drag’
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Sterilisation is a challenge a majority of laparoscopic surgeons face while performing surgeries in rural areas of the country, observed Dr Suresh C Hari in his address at the annual conference of the Association of Surgeons in Ludhiana. He was in the city to attend ASICON 2OO8.

Improper sterilisation leads to post-operative complications, adding to apprehensions of the surgeons trying to take laparoscopic surgery to people in remote villages of India, said Dr Hari.

Briefing the surgeons on safe and environment-friendly ways of sterilisation, Dr Hari enlisted ultrasonic cleaners, autoclave and H2 O2 gas plasma sterilisation amongst the best. However, sharing his experience of working in villages, Dr Hari pointed towards the donated equipment in rural hospitals versus availability of trained staff.

Echoing a similar opinion, Dr Madhu Sekar spoke on the status of laparoscopy in rural India in the absence of “missing infrastructure and trained staff” in rural hospitals. “Despite good work by Indian surgeons in laparoscopy, the rural sector has failed to get the benefit all these years as young doctors and post- graduates are reluctant to work in the prevailing circumstances in villages,” stated Dr Sekar.

It is surprising that of the total laparoscopic surgeries being performed in India, only 15 per cent are in rural areas, whereas rural people, including farmers and labourers, deserve the benefits of this surgery for resuming work early and earn more, Dr Sekar added.


Mumbai Heat
Village youth line up for pvt security jobs
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Punjab village youth, who were lukewarm to the idea of becoming “chowkidars” only six months back, are apparently now gung ho about taking on private security duties with companies competing with each other to take them aboard after the Mumbai terror attacks.

The move to train village youth as private security guards was an idea, which was mooted by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal over a year back. However, training of two successive batches did not yield good results because youth were hoping they would be absorbed in the Punjab police.

The Punjab police tweaked the scheme a bit and formed the Punjab Police Security Corporation, besides creating more awareness about the scheme as well as ensuring better placement opportunities.

This has resulted in win-win situation for the youth. The latest 250-odd batch, which passed out after a two-month training on December 20, has been entirely absorbed by the industry, post the Mumbai terror attacks, Police Corporation Managing Director MK Tewari said. Speaking about the placement, he said one youth, who was a postgraduate had been offered a salary of Rs 12,000, nine graduates had been offered a salary of Rs 9,000 and the remaining youth have bagged offers ranging between Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 per month.

“The good pay offers are partly responsible for the change in mindset of the village youth in the past six months or so”, says Tewari adding that the registration for the two batches, that will undergo training in January and March had also seen a quantum jump. From the 250-odd youth signing up for training earlier, batches now will have around 900 trainees each, the police corporation head disclosed.

The corporation is also in the process of starting diploma courses in security training, which will enable graduates and postgraduates to take up supervisory level jobs in private security agencies as well as the industry.

Security agencies queuing up to sign on the village youths include Group 4, Tera Force and Check Mate. The Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) chairman Kunwar Vikram Singh said around two lakh youth were engaged in security duties in Punjab and that there was a scope of 25 per cent annual increase. He said there was a potential of 10 lakh security related jobs all over the country.

Kunwar Vikram Singh said the Punjab government could follow its Andhra counterpart, which had established an export corporation to sponsor youth for security duties in other countries. He said there was immense demand for trained security personnel in West Asia.

The Police Security Corporation formally signed a MoU with CAPSI, which would assist the Punjab Security Training institute at Jahankalan to design, run and review courses. Punjab DGP NPS Aulakh, who was present on the occasion, said efforts were also on to get the course recognised by IGNOU.


Farm societies to be multipurpose bodies
Will help them undertake various activities to become financially viable and provide services to members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
All primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS) in the state will be converted into multipurpose cooperative societies to enable them to undertake various activities to become financially viable and provide services to the members.

Other than providing short-term loans these societies will be broadening their scope to make arrangements for providing facilities and services to the members in the field of education, health, sanitation, life insurance etc. These societies are already involved in providing consumer articles to the members.

Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh has already announced that allocation of profit would be redefined so that at least 12 per cent of the profit is used for infrastructure development. He added that the PACS and milk-producing cooperative societies, which do not have buildings or land would be provided land from the ‘shamlat’ land in villages.

“We already have 50-lakh members in various cooperative societies and intend to start fresh enrolment so that we can have an increase of at least 25 per cent in the next year,” the minister said. Virtually clipping the wings of the bureaucracy and handing over powers to the cooperative bodies, the minister has also announced that in case a proposal was sent by a cooperative body to the Registrar for approval, he would only have 30 days to approve or reject it failing which, it would be deemed to have been approved.

The minister also stated that the annual confidential reports of the officials involved in the cooperative movement would be written on the basis of their specific achievements in the promotion of the cooperative movement particularly in the enrolment of new members, creation of infrastructure, development of multipurpose societies as role models for business development and success in implementing specific schemes of the department.


Suicide by farmer: Rally seeks arrest of accused
Our Correspondent

Nabha, December 30
Several farmer bodies, led by the Akali Dal 1920, yesterday held a rally before the SDM’s office in the town. They were demanding the arrest of the commission agents accused of driving farmer Shamsher Singh of nearby Gadaiya village to suicide.

Shamsher (50) was found dead in the office of commission agents Akem Onkar Traders on December 10 morning. The family of the deceased had alleged that Shamsher went to the office of the commission agents to collect payment of paddy sold to them one and half months ago.

Paramjit Singh Sahauli, national president, Youth Akali Dal 1920, said it was ridiculous that even after booking the commission agents under Section 306, IPC, the police was trying to appease the traders by not arresting the accused.

Sahauli, who was accompanied by a large number of farmers and farm hands, warned the police and the administration not to test their patience. “Commission agents and their associations make life of a debt-ridden and defaulting farmer hell, but when things go other way, no one comes to the rescue of the affected farmers,” he said.


Karnataka man tells children how to study on their own
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 30
In districts, like Sangrur, where students return from school without learning a single word due to an acute shortage of teachers and lecturers, a man from Karnataka and at present lecturer in sociology in the Government College for Girls at Chandigarh Pt Rao Dharennavar emerges as a ray of hope. He tells students about J. Krishanamurthi’s methodology of teaching to study in schools on their own, even without having a teacher in the school.

As part of this campaign, Dharennavar today visited Saron and Ballian villages, near here, where he staged a play in Punjabi to explain the method to children, viz “How to do self-study in the absence of a teacher”. He also taught them about the method of grasping lessons and respecting the Punjabi language.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Dharennavar said he was astonished when he came to know that children at Ballian village were ignorant even about the name of the Punjab Education Minister. He said this was a matter of concern not only for the Education Minister, but also for all education-loving people. So the Education Minister should take note of it.

Dharennavar said he had promised the children at Saron and Ballian villages that he would come to them after every fortnight to teach them and tell them about various other methods of learning from J. Krishanamurthi’s methodology of teaching. He said the children paid full attention to listen and imbibe the methods relating to “How to study on their own”.

He also said it was a matter of concern that there were more liquor shops than libraries on the land of Guru Nanak Dev, the Vedas and the Bhagwat Gita. He said the holy land of Punjab could become a model for the entire country if the condition of education improved in the state. So there was an urgent need to adopt J. Krishanamurthi’s methodology of teaching to uplift standard of educational system in Punjab, he added.

Dharennavar also said he was shocked to know that in Sangrur district, a large number of posts of teacher, lecturer, principal and headmaster were lying vacant. The vacant posts included 81 posts of principal, 80 of headmaster, 300 teacher and 140 of lecturer. He said in a district which was facing such a great shortage of teachers and other staff, how could the students perform well in their annual examinations. 


Change of IO
HC: Court interference can lead to undesirable results
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the investigating officer or agency should not be changed at the asking of the accused. The court may monitor the investigations in case of dereliction of duty by the agency.

With this, Justice Ranjit Singh has put to rest the controversy over the right of an accused to seek a change in the investigating agency or officer. The judgment is likely to have a direct bearing on the security equipment purchase case. In it, an accused, Anurag Saxena, has objected to the continuation of IPS officer S.K. Asthana as the investigating officer.

Justice Singh has ruled: “Any accused, who is falsely implicated, has to ultimately prove his case before the court…. An accused is entitled to a fair investigation as fair investigation and fair trial are concomitant to preservation of the fundamental right of an accused under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. A victim of crime is equally entitled to a fair investigation….”

“There would hardly be an accused, who would ever feel satisfied with the outcome or result of an investigation. If the court starts interfering with the manner of investigation by directing change of investigating officer or investigating agency, on the asking of accused persons, it may lead to some unwarranted or undesirable results.

“Courts, otherwise, have hardly any role during investigation. It is only when the police or other agencies do not carry out their public duty to investigate the offence disclosed, the court may monitor the investigation”.

Justice Singh has also referred to the judgment in Nirmal Singh Kahlon versus State of Punjab case, while pronouncing the orders on the petition filed by one Saroj against the State of Punjab and other respondents. She was seeking fresh investigation by CBI in a murder case, registered against her husband, on the ground of implication.

Taking up the petition, Justice Singh ruled when an accused was available to seek relief, his “wife, in my view, would not have locus to file the petition…. This petition, thus, deserves to be dismissed on this short ground”.

Dismissing the petition, Justice Ranjit Singh added: “Simply because there was previous litigation pending between the parties would not mean that the respondents would be in a position to implicate the petitioner falsely.

Two of the respondents are an ASI and a head constable. They would not have such overriding powers to influence their senior officers to falsely implicate the husband of the petitioner. I am not inclined to exercise inherent jurisdiction to interfere in this case….”


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