Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Posted at: Jan 12, 2019, 6:48 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2019, 6:48 AM (IST)

Commissions face fund crunch: Retired judges

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11

Less than a month after the Punjab and Haryana High Court asked former judges appointed to “commissions” whether due courtesies were being extended to them by the government functionaries, sanctioning of funds is emerging as a common problem.

Justice Ranjit Singh has asserted that the commission faced difficulties in sanctioning of funds, following which the staff had to work without pay for months together. Available information suggests that Justice Mehtab Singh Gill Commission, too, is facing similar problems.

In his response, Justice Ranjit Singh also suggested initiation of appropriate action under Section 10-A of the Commission of Inquiry Act against political party leaders using disrespectful language against the commissions due to political considerations.

The Section makes it clear that a person would be punishable with an imprisonment for up to to six months, or with fine, or both, if he makes or publishes statement or does an act calculated to bring the commission or its member to disrepute.

Heading a commission of inquiry constituted by the state to look into sacrilege incidents, Justice Ranjit Singh said the government must in routine be prepared to extend honour by bestowing pay and allowances of a serving Judge on a retired Judge heading a commission. “It is below the dignity of a retired Judge to seek such privileges. These should follow as routine.”

Referring to initial difficulties, Justice Ranjit Singh added that the commission faced problems in administrative setup, including necessary staff and office space. As such, providing staff, place to work, and requisite material simultaneously with the appointment of the commission was required to be made incumbent for the government.

Justice Ranjit Singh added: “The commission had to struggle hard to get the requisite staff like the registrar, reader, steno and other members, resulting in the waste of time and delay in timely completion of the assigned task.” Justice Ranjit Singh went on to add that the Chief Minister was at his best and always received the reports personally, showing courtesies due to a retired Judge.

Justice Mehtab Singh Gill in his response asserted that he did not face problems at the time of report submission; and the CM was graciously accepting the interim reports. Justice Gill added that the Chief Minister was, in fact, giving due regard and courtesy to the commission.

The Justice Gill Commission was constituted for looking into the implication of innocents during the 10 years of the SAD-BJP regime.


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