Following court orders, the central government counsel assured the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday to provide security from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to the woman assaulted by Punjab cops in Tarn Taran on March 3 and her relatives who had approached the court.
The court headed by justice Ranjit Singh was informed by the Punjab government counsel that court orders of March 18 had been complied with and seven cops transferred out of Tarn Taran district.
Justice Ranjit Singh made it clear that the court could not deal with any other prayer except to ensure the "safety of life and liberty" of petitioners as the "Supreme Court is seized of the case" and is dealing with it. The HC said the issue before the court was only limited to ensure that "no pressure or influence is put on the petitioners to compromise or otherwise withdraw their complaint."
The court reiterated that if the alleged interference by the Punjab police was not checked, "it would amount to a direct interference in the cause of justice."
Justice Ranjit Singh also said that the court was not considering any action to order a probe by an independent agency, as prayed by the petitioners, since the "issue may appear to be within the purview of the Supreme Court."
Appearing for the Punjab government, additional advocate general Sukhdip Singh Brar placed before the court the communication received by the inspector general of police, border range, Amritsar, showing transfer orders of seven cops out of the district.
Later, when assistant solicitor general Anmol Rattan Sidhu appeared before the court on the latter's directions, the court directed him that it would be appropriate if the requisite security arrangement was made on Tuesday only, to which Sidhu assured compliance of orders.
However, the court made it clear that "security as provided (by Chandigarh police) shall continue till further orders."
When the petitioners' counsel, Gurvinder Singh Sidhu, requested the court to also transfer the senior superintendent of police (SSP), Tarn Taran, the bench directed him to raise the matter before the Supreme Court. On Sidhu's further allegations that even the SSP (rural) and the Sadar police station SHO (station house officer), Tarn Taran, had been convicted in cases, justice Ranjit Singh, showing no interest, said, "Please don't play politics… please don't say Punjab police is such … if the SSP is doing something in the case and interfering despite court orders, we'll remove him."
On March 3, Tarn Taran cops had slapped and hit Harbrinder Kaur and her family members with lathis. The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the case when video recording of the incident was flashed on news channels on March 4.
The case has been adjourned for the next hearing on April 2.