Dismissed Punjab police DSP Balwinder Sekhon, legal aide arrested for contempt of court on High Court order : The Tribune India

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Dismissed Punjab police DSP Balwinder Sekhon, legal aide arrested for contempt of court on High Court order

Had circulated malicious, libelous and derogatory videos on judicial proceedings

Dismissed Punjab police DSP Balwinder Sekhon, legal aide arrested for contempt of court on High Court order

Punjab and Haryana High Court. File Photo



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, February 20

Less than a week after the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued criminal contempt of court notice to dismissed Punjab police official Balwinder Singh Sekhon for circulating malicious, libelous and derogatory videos on judicial proceedings, a Division Bench today ordered his arrest. Directions were also issued to arrest “alleged legal expert” Pardeep Sharma, while issuing contempt notice to channel reporter Baljit Marwaha. 

Acting on HC directions, Sekhon and Pardeep Sharma were arrested later in the evening.     

“We are of the considered opinion that things have come to such a point that we are constrained to issue this notice, reaching a view that the two respondents have committed criminal contempt in the presence of the Court and are guilty of contempt of Court in its presence and they need to be detained in custody before pending determination of the charge,” the Bench had asserted.

The Bench had also directed Ludhiana Commissioner of Police to make certain their arrest before sending them to judicial custody and further ensure their production on February 24 to answer the charge of contempt.

The Bench also directed Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to remove/block/restrict/disable access on a global basis to all videos/web links/URLs on court proceedings uploaded from Sekhon and Sharma’s IP addresses.

The respondents were also directed to ensure immediate removal of similar material uploaded by other channels on social media platforms at their behest. For “ensuring the purity of justice and to protect the prestige of this Court”, the Bench further directed the Union of India and three other respondents to take appropriate steps for blocking public access to any information regarding videos put on the platform.

The Bench of Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan asserted freedom of speech and expression was protected under the Constitution. But it was not an unfettered right. Duties were also enshrined upon the citizens, as much as the constitutional rights.

The Bench added the continued misconduct of respondents Sekhon and Sharma, fanned by respondent Marwaha, had forced it “with a heavy heart” to issue directions and contempt notice to them. They apparently had willingly taken on the High Court to achieve their personal ends for reasons best known to them.

The Bench added: “A virtual panchayat is being held, whereby abuses are being showered on this Court in the proceedings conducted by the respondents in the form of a Gatling gun and the fact that the Bench does not know the 'A, B, C' of law, unmindful of the fact that this 'Temple of Justice' is adourned by constitutional authorities, who are only doing and conducting work in accordance with the oath given to them under the Constitution without fear and favour to anyone. Apart from that, even the family members have not been spared by passing disparaging remarks against them also."

Who is Balwinder Singh Sekhon?

A Deputy Superintendent of Police, Balwinder Singh Sekhon was dismissed from service during then DGP Dinkar Gupta’s tenure. His dismissal was on the grounds that “he had made unpleasant remarks against the government through the social media while being a member of the disciplined force”. Available information suggests some of the videos are directed not only against the judiciary, but also Gupta and another police officer.

How it started?

  • Hearing the drugs case, the Bench observed it came to notice that Sekhon had been circulating malicious, libelous and derogatory videos pertaining to judicial proceedings. The Bench said it was informed about circulation of a large number of videos prior to the listing of contentious matters.
  • A video was circulated on January 26 prior to the Court proceedings the next day, “referring to more than 10 Judges of this Court against whom scandalous allegations have been made and one Judge of the Supreme Court”.
  • Pardeep Sharma, apparently part of several press conferences and featuring along with Sekhon, stated in a video that some sealed reports received in 2017 had not been opened. None of the Judges had the guts to open the reports. “He disparagingly remarked about one of us and the fact that his father was also a Chief Justice and he also did not have the guts to open the reports. Sekhon then named two senior police officials, due to which, the reports had not been opened and he claimed to be a whistle-blower and that the Bench would wet its pants if the envelopes are opened. It was further commented that the Judges have been leashed by a certain set of people,” the Bench observed.

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