High Court sets aside order giving relief to Veer Singh Lopoke

High Court sets aside order giving relief to Veer Singh Lopoke

Veer Singh Lopoke

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13

More than two years after an appellate court set aside the trial court’s judgment convicting ex-MLA Veer Singh Lopoke in a defamation case before sentencing him to simple imprisonment for a year, the order has failed to find favour with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Taking up a bunch of two petitions, Justice Sanjay Kumar has set aside the appellate court’s judgment dated October 30, 2018, “insofar as it allowed the appeal of the accused and set aside the judgment dated September 18, 2013, of the Amritsar Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate”

Defamation case against ex-MLA

  • Justice Sanjay Kumar was told that complainant-now Congress minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and accused Veer Singh Lopoke were rival candidates in the Assembly elections from Rajasansi constituency in February 2007. On the date of the election, an advertisement was published in a newspaper allegedly depicting the complainant in a negative light and the accused was stated to be responsible for its publication. He also allegedly distributed copies of the newspaper that day

Justice Kumar was told that complainant-now Congress minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and the accused were rival candidates in the Assembly elections from Rajasansi constituency held in February 2007. On the date of the election, an advertisement was published in a newspaper allegedly depicting the complainant in a negative light and the accused was stated to be responsible for its publication. He also allegedly distributed copies of the newspaper that day.

The trail court, vide judgment dated September 18, 2013, found sufficient evidence to convict and sentence the accused, leading to cross appeals. Justice Kumar asserted the accused filed an independent appeal against his conviction and sentence. But once the appellate court found sufficient grounds to allow additional evidence to be adduced under Section 391 of the CrPC in the complainant’s appeal, it could not have decided the appeals at that stage.

Both appeals necessarily had to await the adducing of additional evidence so that the appellate court could take the same into account while deciding them comprehensively. Finding enough grounds to allow the application under Section 391 in the complainant’s appeal, the appellate court was not justified in dismissing his appeal as infructuous and in setting aside the judgment dated September 18, 2013, of the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate. “The approach of the appellate court defies law, logic and comprehension,” Justice Kumar asserted.

Before parting with the case, Justice Kumar added the appellate court would dispose of both appeals on merits and in accordance with the law, duly taking into consideration the additional evidence placed before it.

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