Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 6
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rapped the state for “gross laxity” in launching prosecution under the provisions of the Insecticides Act.
The admonition came in a case where a complaint under the Act was instituted after more than six years of receiving public analyst report, even though the court could take cognisance of offence within three years from its commission.
“The present case is the one where there has been gross laxity on part of the officials concerned, who have not taken the necessary steps for ensuring that the prosecution is launched within the prescribed time frame,” Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill asserted.
The Bench was hearing a petition by Deep Singh and other petitioners against the state. The petitioners had approached the High Court for quashing a complaint dated January 9, 2018, titled “State versus M/s Gill Pesticides and Others”.
Directions were also sought for quashing the summoning order passed by Moga Chief Judicial Magistrate. The complaint was filed after a sample drawn by an insecticide inspector was found to be misbranded as per the analyst’s report dated September 6, 2011.
Taking up the matter, Justice Gill observed that the state counsel could not dispute the fact that the complaint was instituted after more than six years, whereas the limitation for taking cognisance was three years.
Justice Gill asserted: “Since the complaint in question came to be instituted after more than six years from the date when the report of public analyst was received, i.e. after expiry of period of limitation for taking cognisance, continuance of the proceedings based on such complaint would amount to abuse of process of law. Consequently, the complaint as well as the summoning order and all the proceedings arising out of the complaint in question deserve to be quashed.” Taking cognisance of “brazen delay” by the authorities concerned in launching prosecution against manufacturer of spurious insecticides and fertilisers, the High Court in another case had earlier imposed cost of Rs 1 lakh on an insecticide inspector with a direction on paying the amount from “personal pocket”.
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