Court bars withdrawal of cases related to post-Vienna violence in Jalandhar

Jalandhar bore the brunt after Sant Ramanand of Dera Ballan was murdered at Austrian capital in 2009

Court bars withdrawal of cases related to post-Vienna violence in Jalandhar

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20

The court of Additional Sessions Judge Manjinder Singh on Monday denied to give its consent to an application moved by an Additional Public Prosecutor last month on the orders of the state government for permission to withdraw prosecution against the accused facing trial for the alleged violence in Jalandhar after the murder of Sant Ramanand of Dera Ballan in Vienna in May 2009.

‘Disgusting to know that state wants to protect criminals’

  • Contesting the case to ensure that it goes to its logical end, lawyer Darshan Dyal said it was disgusting and heartbreaking to know that the state was trying to protect the criminals under the garb of ‘public interest’
  • He also cited a very emotional story. “In one of these six FIRs is a case under Section 302 of the IPC at Phillaur, one colleague of public prosecutor was travelling to Ludhiana along with his gunman
  • The car was turned turtle by the mob. This resulted in the death of his gunman. With what face the prosecution agency tell the kids of the slain gunman that their dad’s murder case was withdrawn in public interest

The application was moved on August 19 after the orders of the Home Department of Punjab in this regard on July 12. It pertained to seeking the consent of the court to withdraw prosecution in six criminal cases registered on May 25, 2009, including one each at Rama Mandi and Lambra and four at Phillaur police stations.

The application mentioned that the followers of the dera had gathered on roads and were agitating as the murder of the sant had hurt their religious sentiments and there was no pre-design to hold agitations.

A mob attacked police vehicles and caused injuries to police officials, but still the cops, including HC Jagdish Pal, retired HC Surjit Singh, retired inspectors Ashwani Kumar and Sodagar Singh, ASIs Surjit Singh, Vijay Kumar, Gurkirat Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Surinder Singh and Gurmail Singh, did not identify any witnesses and were declared hostile by the court.

The application also mentioned that the matter pertained to public interest and in the event it ended up in conviction of the accused persons, it could again disturb the public tranquillity. Arguing on the matter, advocate Darshan Dyal on behalf of the complainants gave a written submission in the court.

He wrote, “Though only six FIRs have been mentioned by the prosecution agency, there were 75 cases of murder, arson, loot and destruction of public and private properties worth hundreds of crores against anti-social elements. While 30 FIRs were sent to the court as untraced and trial in them never began, only 45 were sent for trial. All the accused in 19 of them have been freed by the court for lack of evidence on the part of the police.”

Dyal strongly argued, “Vandalising showrooms and hospitals, burning private vehicles, trains, police vehicles and attacking police and doctors who treated the injured cannot be public interest. It is in fact political interest as even the Vienna Kand Sangharsh Committee mentions that the Chief Minister of Punjab had promised to withdraw all such criminal cases against them during that period. Withdrawal of the cases would demoralise the general public and the police force and will shake their faith in the judicial system. It will also encourage the accused to repeat the crime as they would feel that the government would ultimately withdraw prosecution case.”

Hearing both sides, the court decided not to give consent for withdrawal of the prosecution cases and ordered that the trials would go on.

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