P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Farmers call off rail roko stir
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 31
After prolonged negotiations, protesting farmers reached an agreement with officials and then called off their rail roko stir at 11 pm yesterday.

Before the matter was sorted out, besides elderly protesters, a number of children were seen in the agitation along with family members.

The railway junction saw a heavy deployment of the police and administrative officers. To beat the biting cold and dense fog, temporary tents were set up. On the other hand, farmers, too, arranged langars at the railway track and kept blaming the state and Central governments for “anti-farmer” policies.

In the late hours, 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.

After coming out of the meeting, farmer leaders held discussions with workers and then apprised the officers about the proceedings.

Later, the DC disclosed the terms and conditions of the agreement and Nagpal confirmed it. Tewari said the 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 might 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, which they reportedly availed.

Talking to The Tribune, after calling off the stir, the agitators said, “Earlier too the administration deceived us many times. This time, we have called off the rail roko protest, but if the implementation of the agreement is not done, we can go to any extent.”

Area traffic manager, Railways, Sher Singh said, “Except for the five cancelled trains, all had resumed journey after the protest was over.”


‘Organic farming can be counter-productive’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Increased organic farming of wheat and paddy crops could be counter-productive for Punjab and could also jeopardise the national food security, according to a six-month study of organic as well as intensive farming systems in the state by the State Farmers Commission.

The report, which has been prepared after the release of a draft paper to prominent scientists as well as institutions, will be submitted to the state government shortly. It also calls for legislation to control burning of crop residues, saying rice straw worth Rs 250 crore is being burnt in the state.

The report also has a message for farmers. Farmers Commission chairman GS Kalkat told The Tribune that farmers should take up organic farming of food grains on a contract basis only. “Otherwise it is not a paying proposition for the farmers involved”, he added.

It also recommends the government provide funds to the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, so that new innovations reportedly in use by organic farmers in different parts of the country are collected and sorted out crop and region wise and tested for their application. “This is imperative as a lot of things being done do not seem to have scientific basis”, Dr Kalkat said while talking about different organic manures being prepared using cow dung, urine and other products.

Meanwhile, the report says it is essential to provide requisite nutrients and also use insecticides to control pests. Citing a three-year experimental data of the PAU, it states that without chemical fertilisers, there would be a reduction in food grain production by 25 to 30 million tonnes and it could jeopardise the national food security.

Farmers Commission consultant PS Rangi said the fact that there was no residue content of weedicide (used during the initial phase) in food grains proved that intensive farming of both wheat and paddy was still the best option. Dr Rangi said on the other hand the premium price of organic grain was the major determinant of the profitability of organic farming and thus had a limited scope.

The report notes that organic manures do start the process of improving the soil health, but it may not be possible for the entire cropped area nor sustain high yields in all crop alternatives. Likewise, it says macro and micronutrients, if applied judiciously, would not deteriorate soil health. Use of both organic and intensive farming methods in combination could be the best option.

Those promoting organic farming say they are dismayed that people “who do not know anything about the process are passing judgement on it”. Umendra Dutt of the Kheti Virasat Mission says PAU scientists are talking about yield reduction in case of organic farming but have not factored in the fact that yield revives once the soil quality improves. Similarly, while talking about the viability of organic farming, one needed to calculate net profit and not yield.

To be continued


Bungling in pulse polio fund alleged
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 31
Resentment prevails among members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation and anganwari workers here against the disparity in money disbursals for booths by the  district health authorities during the recent pulse polio campaign.

A deputation, led by the district presidents of the federation and anganwari workers, Satish Rana and Shiderpal Kaur, respectively, met the assistant civil surgeon in the absence of the civil surgeon yesterday.

They alleged that no allowance and refreshment had been provided to the employees during the training period. The money disbursal to administer polio drops for three days during the campaign was not universal. They demanded an inquiry in the matter.



MP dons guide’s cap for rural kids
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The last day of the year saw Hoshiarpur MP Avinash Rai Khanna donning the cap of a tourist guide for the rural school students. In fact, in a unique gesture, the BJP leader took students of his constituency to educational-cum-recreational trip to Le Corbusier’s landmarks, including the Vidhan Sabha, the Civil Secretariat and the Punjab and Haryana High Court building here today.

Amusement and awe were writ large on the faces of the students, comprising mostly school students from the underpreviliged sections of society, as Khanna ushered them into the highest seats of power and politics. The inquisitive students could be seen inquiring about the rules and regulations of the legislative business with Khanna himself offering to provide the answers.

With a sitting MP accompanying the students, various functionaries of the Vidhan Sabha and the Civil Secretariat seemed to be courteous in providing information about various procedures regarding the functioning of the government and administration.

Earlier, the students had a gala time at the major tourist attractions of the city such as the Rock Garden and the Sukhna Lake.

On the excursion, Khanna said it was his committment to the children of his constituency which he fulfilled by way of organising this tour. “Since rural students of Punjab hardly get to see the important places of power in Chandigarh, I felt it was my moral duty to get them first-hand account of these buildings,” he added.


Adopt real economic federalism: CM to Centre
Amarjit Sngh Thind
Tribune News Srevice

Nadala (Kapurthala), December 31
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Centre to adopt the concept of "economic federalism" in true spirit for a balanced development of the states and the Centre.

The CM ad not raised this issue when the BJP-led NDA was in power and the Akalis were part of it. He was in the town for the vikas yatra and addressed a gathering here this noon.

Successive Congress regimes at the Centre had always ignored Punjab in its polices, programmes and all central schemes fixed arbitrary parameters so Punjab was always out of the purview of such schemes, he alleged.

In fact, successive Congress governments since Independence had meted out step-motherly treatment with the border state. Only recently, the Cost and Price Commission on Agriculture had recommended meagre hike of only Rs 80 in wheat MSP but even then the Union Finance Minister had not agreed to it.

Likewise, the prices of diesel and petrol had been reduced drastically across the globe, but the Centre has reduced these marginally hitting interests of farmers, consumers of petroleum products and had been contributing 60 to 70 per cent to national food basket.

The CM appealed to people to vote and support the SAD-BJP alliance in the Lok Sabha elections. An NDA government at the Centre would ensure overall development of Punjab, he claimed.

Former SGPC chief and chairperson, Kapurthala Planning Committee, Bibi Jagir Kaur highlighted problems of the Bholath constituency.


Reforms in SGPC soon, says SAD chief
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Singo (Bathinda), December 31
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal will soon introduce major reforms in the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC). However, he chose to disclose details later.

Earlier, after paying obeisance at Gurdwara Takht Sri Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo, he went on a foundation stone-laying spree in the Talwandi Sabo constituency.

At Singo village Sukhbir told mediapersons that in 2009 there would be three administrative reforms, setting up of an anti-drug force and rejuvenation of the education system. He added that a special force would be set up to stamp out the menace of drugs in the state.

This setup would be part of the Police Department, but would act as an independent force like the Vigilance Bureau. He said just as the bureau acted as an anti-corruption force, this force would be accountable for checking drug peddling and related activities. He said services of police officers up to the inspector-general level would be requisitioned.

On policemen facing harassment due to frequent VIP duties, he said, “I am also aware of the facts and feel sympathy for them”. He disclosed that the government would invite applications for 2,000 vacancies in the police force in a fortnight. When reminded about his promise of a day’s rest in a week for policemen, he said, “I will make a request to the CM to ensure a day off for every employee”.

As part of the administrative reforms, a mission for 2009, Sukhbir said the government would soon fill vacancies in departments dealing with public services. He said departments like Excise, Public Health, Police and Co-operatives are in such a list.


France may remove ban: Minister
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Sikh children going to government schools in France could win the right to wear turbans with the French government agreeing to consider a proposal to delink this issue from the ban on wearing of head gear which is in force since March, 2004.

Disclosing this here today while answering a question, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said President Nicolas Sarkozy had agreed to have a re-look into the issue after a request made by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the European summit. Sharma said Dr Manmohan Singh had emphasised the religious obligations of Sikhs to wear turbans to the French President. India had asserted that wearing of turbans was in no way a sign of fundamentalism in Sikhism.

Earlier, the human rights committee of the United Nations had advised France to re-examine the rule forbidding wearing of conspicuous religious symbols, including the turban, in schools after submission of a report by minority experts.

When questioned about other issues concerning Punjab, particularly the demand to open visa consulates in Amritsar and Lahore, the minister indicated that this was not on the agenda presently. Sharma said the visa centres, which were functioning presently, were meeting the requirements. He said there was also a need for reciprocity on this issue, adding discussions had been held but no decision had been taken.

Sharma was non-committal on the demand for a 3-km-long corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan to enable Sikh pilgrims visa-free access to the religious site. Pakistan has already agreed to this demand in principle.

When questioned about the large number of Punjabi youth who were languishing in various countries, particularly Italy, as they had “lost” their passports, the minister said in most of the cases it seemed as if passports had been destroyed intentionally. He said, however, it was the government policy to provide emergency travel documents in such cases.

He also indicated that the process of exchange of civilians, who had accidentally crossed over to India from Pakistan, would continue despite the recent escalation of tension. Speaking about the 66 civilians who had been repatriated to Pakistan yesterday, Sharma said this was in line with the government policy not to overlook the humanitarian aspect even in difficult times.

The minister refused to comment on the ongoing tussle going between the Union Territory Administrator Lt Gen (retd) SF Rodrigues and Adviser Pradeep Mehra, saying he was sure the concerned ministry and minister would take cognizance of the matter. 


Sangha is new Punjab women panel chief
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
“In twenty years from now it would become difficult for women to get out of their houses in Punjab and feel safe. If the decline in sex ratio continues the way it is, crime against women would increase manifold,” said Gurdev Kaur Sangha the newly chosen chairperson of the Punjab State Women’s commission.

She was talking to The Tribune following her installation ceremony here this afternoon. She was handed over the office by Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Sangha belongs to Jalandhar and is from the family known for its contribution in potato farming in the state. Her husband HS Sangha is called the ‘potato king’ of Punjab and has over 5,000 acres of land under cultivation. Actively participating in the agri-export business, she also manages the cold stores. Sangha is also the sarpanch of village Qadianwala in Jalandhar and is working for the improvement of general health of needy women. “I am glad that I have been given this opportunity as I can now continue this work extending it to the whole state,” she said.

Admitting that there is a need to deal with matrimonial problems more realistically, she said, “It is not always that the man is at fault in a matrimonial dispute and it is not always that the woman is the victim or the one who is innocent. In many cases it is the woman who is to be blamed. In such cases there is a need to counsel the women and their families to change their ways. The aim is to ensure that families do no break but remain bonded together,” she said.

She added that the work of generating awareness and implementing various schemes for women would be done by a team of seven women chosen from each village at the micro level. “Then there would be women chosen as heads at the circle and district levels. This network will be established through the members of the Istri Akali Dal,” she said.

Other than Sangha, the Chief Minister had announced Pushpinder Kaur and Ranjit Kaur Bhatti as the two members of the commission. Pushpinder Kaur was also installed as member during the ceremony.

The commission had been without a chairperson for more than one year. The 10-member commission has one IAS officer as the member secretary and the Punjab DGP and Director Socials Security Punjab as the ex-officio members. Out of the six women members three have been chosen. 


Punjab resents Haryana engineer’s appointment
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 31
Reacting to the appointment of Haryana cadre engineer MK Gupta as member (Irrigation) of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), Irrigation Minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon today said it was great injustice of the union government to Punjab. “The Union Water Resources Ministry’s rejecting our claim to this post amounted to humiliating the state,” said Sekhon . Gupta assumed charge of the member (Irrigation) of the BBMB today.

Sekhon said he would meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal tomorrow and urge him to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to protest against this appointment.

Badal had written to the Union Ministry of Water Resources urging it to appoint Punjab cadre engineer member (Irrigation) of the BBMB this time. Badal had said since 1966, the member was being appointed from Haryana cadre when there was no provision in the rules.

Following Badal’s letter, the Union Ministry had written to Punjab to maintain status quo on the appointments of members of the BBMB. However, Punjab had rejected the ministry’s letter in this regard and had written again this time member (Irrigation) must be from Punjab cadre or some rotational system be introduced. However, the ministry has rejected Punjab’s plea.

Sekhon said the Union Water Resources Ministry had been supporting Haryana on various water-related disputes such as Hansi-Butana canal and appointment of member (Irrigation). 


Nabha royal family to give 10th Guru’s relics to govt
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
A turban, three swords, a cloak, a comb with hair of Guru Gobind Singh and a hand-written piece of paper (manuscript) of the10 th Sikh Master are the relics erstwhile princely family of Nabha state has agreed to hand over to the Punjab government.

These relics at present in the union capital earlier were on display display in the Palace of Nabha before these were moved to Delhi.

Tarlochan Singh, MP, who belongs to Patiala, reportedly persuaded Raja Hanuwant Singh, son of last Maharaja of Nabha state Pratap Singh, to hand over the relics to the Punjab government.

Raja Hanuwant Singh filed an affidavit in the Punjab and Haryana High Court conveying the decision of the princely family to hand over the sacred relics to the Punjab government.

The court has directed the Punjab government to constitute a four-member committee to receive the relics from the Nabha family in two months and decide a place to display these relics.

Residents of Nabha had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Nabha family to hand over the relics back to people of Nabha for displaying. The petitioners even offered to meet bear maintenance and upkeep cost of the relics saying these had become part and parcel of their life for they had been having “darshan” of the relics as religious routine.

Earlier, saysTarlochan Singh, “I had requested the Punjab chief secretary to persuade the Nabha family to hand over the relics to the state for proper upkeep, maintenance and display.

Now as the Nabha family has conceded the request of residents of Nabha and Tarlochan Singh, he wants these be first taken to Nabha for “public darshan” before a decision is taken on permanent exhibition or display centre for the relics.

Tarlochan Singh also wants the Punjab government to appeal to all families which may be in possession of some other relics of Sikh Gurus to hand over these to the state government by following the Nabha family.


Sikh History Research Board director sticks to definition
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar , December 31
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) is again in the news over the Sehajdhari issue even as Dr Anurag Singh, director, Sikh History Research Board, questioned the formation of the three-member committee that includes the executive committee member who effected amendment in the affidavit on the definition of Sehajdhari filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In a four-page hand-written confidential letter, addressed to the SGPC president, Dr Anurag Singh said, “Without prejudice to any individual and to place on record the true facts, it is submitted that the constitution of the said committee is legally untenable because it is a settled principle of law that nobody can be a judge in his own case. So please form a committee of representatives of various organisations to ascertain the facts”.

Meanwhile, the Dal Khalsa said the role of Pavit Mattewal, son of the advocate-general, and Dr Anuragh Singh should be probed.

Dr Anurag Singh’s letter stated that the resolution, moved by the secretary as convener of the expert committee in the executive body meeting of December 3 and approved with one amendment moved by Rajinder Singh Mehta, was the same which was circulated to the press and full text was published in newspapers the next day. The letter gives impression that he held the entire executive body of the SGPC responsible for the lapse, if any while finalising the draft.

However, SGPC president Avtar Singh said though induction of Dr Anurag Singh as director of the board, was his personal choice, the latter brought great embarrassment to the SGPC by insisting on the definition of Sehajdhari, prepared by him. The SGPC chief said the resignation of Dr Anurag Singh would be accepted shortly.

In his missive, Dr Anurag Singh said for 15 days various organisations with assertions on the affidavit filed by the SGPC in the high court in the matter of definition of Sehajdhari, Sikhs and Patit was objectionable and very damaging. He said one report alleged that the SGPC was of the view the SGPC executive body passed a different resolution at its meeting of December 3, 2008, and the affidavit was contrary to that and to ascertain the truth, a committee had been formed.

He asked whether the convener of the expert committee obtained the signatures of all members before moving the resolution. If he had not done his job, why did he move the resolution. He further asked whether the persons assembled at Amritsar on December 4 were authorised to sign the resolution of December 3 by amending its clauses. Legally the committee members could amend the report and not the resolution.

Investigation may also be held who leaked out this “forged and fabricated” document to various organisations, who started accusing the SGPC of changing the affidavit, which they allege was contrary to the opinion of the expert committee.

“I may state if the SGPC would like to uphold the truth, I will prove whatever has been written above and if the SGPC has opted to come under political pressure, treat this letter as my resignation because religious ethics defined by Sikh Gurus cannot be changed by political pressures. Please convey your decision as I am proceeding on leave,” said Dr Anurag Singh.


Hindu pilgrims’ Pak visit cleared
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 31
The current impasse between India and Pakistan notwithstanding, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs cleared the visit of a 31-member group of Hindu pilgrims to Pakistan from January 8 to 18, said Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, here today.

Apart from the aforementioned group, he said the clearance for the pilgrimage of a 200-member group of Hindus to Katasraj (in Pakistan) on the occasion of Mahashivratri had been granted. The jatha was likely to cross over to Pakistan on February 23 and would conclude pilgrimage on March 2.

He said the group would convey the message of peace, harmony and blissful co-existence between the two neighbouring countries to the common Pakistani. The pilgrims, led by Sant Yudishtir Lal of Chhattisgarh, would visit Sadani Darbar in Sakhar Sindh district.

Billa said he had got a letter from the External Affairs Ministry seeking names of prospective pilgrims.

According to him, terrorists were enemies of humanity and must be punished as per law and added that innocent people of both countries and their development could not be held hostage of their dastardly acts and nefarious designs.


‘Pak whipping up war hysteria’
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said today that India was for the “neutralisation” of terrorists responsible for the Mumbai strikes and Pakistan was resorting to war hysteria to avoid this duty.

The minister told newsmen here that Pakistan was whipping up war hysteria to divert attention from real issues. “They have failed to take effective steps against those identified as conspirators or terrorist outfits which funded the attacks”.

He said, “Conspirators cannot be given special dispensation of being put under house arrest. They must be bought to justice”. The minister said Pakistan should give up the denial mode adopted by it.

To whether the country was depending too much on the US and whether the US had own limitations considering the ongoing fight against Taliban in Afghanistan, Sharma said he could not comment on US limitations. “However, we too are part of the United Nations,” he said adding that the world body had condemned the attacks, banned two terrorist organisations and identified four terrorists in the case. “In this light we only want firm and collective decision by the international community to neutralise the terrorists and their organisations,” he added.

Sharma, however, refused to fix any deadline for concrete action in the case, saying this was not feasible in diplomacy. On pre-emptive strikes against terror camps in Pakistan, he asked, “Have we ever talked ? We are a mature democracy and always show restraint”.

To another question the minister maintained that war “is not a child’s play”. On India’s position , he said, “We are talking about organisations based in Pakistan as well as individuals based there. Not beyond that”. It would be in the interest of Pakistan to take action against the disruptive elements, which had already been identified by the world community, he added.


Punjabi epic brought on VCD
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 31
A Punjabi epic, “Tum Chandan,” composed by Siri Ram Arsh, a retired joint director, Punjab Public Relations, depicting the life, teachings and philosophy of medieval period saint poet Bhagat Ravidas, has been brought on the VCD by an eminent scholar of Gurbani viz Sant Rama Nand who has recited the whole epic in rhythmical tunes in consonance with the metres used by the author in the epic.

Bhagat Ravidas, a glittering star of the Bhakti Movement, waged a relentless crusade against the prevailing orthodox caste system and liberation of womenfolk. He also gave a revolutionary and unique concept of socialism to mankind about 400 years ago. The whole project was completed under the guidance of Sant Niranjan Dass, head of Dera Sachkhand Ballan, near Jalandhar.

Various anecdotes concerning the life of Guru Ravidas have been included in the VCD at suitable places.

Writer Arsh has also authored other epics, “Panth Sajayo Khalsa,” depicting the life and mission of the Tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh in Punjabi, and “Guru Mileo Ravidas” in Hindi.

The author, popularly known as ghazal writer, has so far written seven anthologies of ghazals, three books of poems and a novel “Sandali Paun”.

People living abroad, who have no time to read books, can listen to the epic while travelling in their vehicles or sitting in their drawing-rooms. Thousands of followers of Bhagat Ravidas, who cannot read Punjabi well, will be able to view and listen to the VCD.

Sant Rama Nand said the sets of the VCD had been made available to devotees living in America, Canada, the UK, Greek and other countries of the world.

Siri Ram Arsh is a recipient of various awards, including International Guru Ravi Dass, Sant Kabir, Mukram Dasuhi, Dr MS Randhawa, Surjit Rampuri Ghazal, Prerna and Delhi Balraj Sahni Awards.


Rs 77 crore for kitchens in schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Every school in Punjab, implementing mid-day meal scheme of the Centre, will have own kitchen.

The Centre has sanctioned Rs 77 crore to construct of kitchens in various schools in the state to implement the mid-day meal scheme.

There are 18,000 schools in the state where students from classes I to VIII are being given cooked food in the day. Every school will get Rs 60,000 for proper kitchen.

Till now there were no proper kitchens in these schools and the food was being cooked in sheds or makeshift kitchens in many cases the food was also cooked in the open.

Director-general, School Education, Krishan Kumar said Punjab was the only state in the country being given amount for all schools.

The proposal for the scheme was sent in November and the amount sanctioned two days ago, added sources.


Society for animals formed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 31
With a view to check atrocities on animals in an effective manner, a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals has been set up in the district. This society will implement the animal protection laws at the grassroots level.

The deputy commissioner has been made chairman of the society, while Senior Superintendent of Police will be its senior vice-president. Other office-bearers of the society are: vice-president - additional deputy commissioner and general secretary - deputy director, Animal Husbandry. All subdivisional magistrates of the district have been made members of the society.

Assistant commissioner (general) and district forest officer have also been nominated as members of the society. Presidents of the gaushala committees of Sangrur, Sunam, Dhuri and Ahmedgarh have been inducted as non-official members in the society.

It has also been decided to get the society registered. After that a resolution to get the society notified will be sent to the Animal Welfare Board of India.


SGPC secy retires

Amritsar, December 31
SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh retired here today. In 2004, he was sacked as SGPC secretary when late Gurcharan Singh Tohra was president, for getting job on the basis of a “fake certificate”. 

He was fined Rs 25,000. However, in June 2005 the SGPC reinstated him after the death of Tohra.

Dalmeg Singh had been given the charge of Harbeant and Joginder Singh promoted secretary. — TNS


Expert opinion cannot be ignored: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the behaviour of a mentally challenged accused inside the courtroom is not enough for the trial court to form an opinion on his fitness to face trial and that the expert opinion cannot be ignored.

Justice Ranjit Singh has also decried the insensitive approach of the trial court, while taking up a murder case against an accused with “unsound mind”.

The ruling comes on a petition by Dimple, facing trial before Patiala additional sessions judge (adhoc). Going into the background, Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “A sick man suffering from unsoundness of mind and accused of an offence under Sections 302/323 IPC has filed this petition through his father…. Dimple is an accused in FIR number 187 dated October 29, 1998…. His father has now filed this petition to impugn an order passed by the additional sessions judge (adhoc), summoning witnesses to conclude the trial, though the accused petitioner continues to suffer from psychotic illness”.

Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “Insensitivity on the part of the trial judge is seen…. Though there was a clear opinion of the expert before him that the petitioner was suffering from chronic psychotic illness, which was most likely to be schizophrenia of undifferentiated nature, the trial court summoned the prosecution witnesses and issued direction for commencing the prosecution of the petitioner.

Laying down the accurate procedure, Justice Ranjit Singh asserted: The court was bound to examine the doctor as witness, who had examined the petitioner, and if it was still to view that the petitioner was not of unsound mind on the basis of some question and answer put to the petitioner, these were to be placed on record.

“The course adopted by the court to rely upon its own observations and failing to follow the mandatory procedure under Section 329 CrPC by ignoring the opinion of an expert, which is required to be taken into consideration in terms of the statutory provisions, certainly would not be legally sound mode to dispose of the plea raised before the court. This mode adopted by the Court, as such, cannot be accepted being opposed to the statutory provisions”.

Justice Ranjit Singh also took note of “contradiction of a sort” in the trial court order. “There was a clear medical opinion about the mental condition of the petitioner given by specialist at PGI. The court had made reference to the same and had reproduced it in the impugned order. Still it is mentioned in the impugned order that no evidence of mental disorder has been produced by the petitioner.

“Having done so, the court, in my view, has resorted to a procedure which may not be permissible. By recording observation about the behaviour of the petitioner-accused during his presence inside the Court, to come to a conclusion that he is fit to face trial, would lead to doing injustice to the sick person”. The petition has been disposed of with directions to the trial court to decide the case in terms of the statutory provisions.


Doctor couple booked for conducting ‘illegal’ MTP
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 31
The police has registered a case against a doctor couple of Bhawanigarh under Section 15.2 of the Indian Medical Council Act and provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. However, no arrest has been made in this case so far.

The police said yesterday it had registered a case against Dr Raj Kumar and his wife Dr Sunita Garg, who run a nursing home at Bhawanigarh, for allegedly conducting an MTP on a woman in their nursing home.

The police further said after receiving the information, civil surgeon, Sangrur, Dalip Kumar entrusted an inquiry to the then district family welfare officer (DFWO), Dr Makhan Singh, who in his report confirmed the illegal conduction of an MTP on the woman. After receiving the report, legal opinion had been taken from the DA (Legal) before registering the case, the police added.

Dr Makhan Singh said after a tip-off about the MTP, the Sangrur civil surgeon ordered him to look into the matter. He said during inquiry he recorded a statement of the patient and also found that both doctors had BAMS degrees. No BAMS doctor could conduct an MTP, he added.

Besides this, their nursing home was also not registered as an MTP centre. So it was an “illegal MTP”, he said.


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