The Punjab and Haryana High court has upheld the appointment of Sumedh Singh Saini as Punjab’s Director General of Police.
The division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain said, “Once we find that there is no fault in the decision making process; the respondent No.3 (Saini) is legally competent to hold the post; he was found eligible for the same; and that he was ranked most meritorious in competitive merit…”
Pronouncing the judgment, the bench further added, “…the present petition of quo-warranto and that too in the nature of Public Interest Litigation, where the scope of enquiry is limited, it appears difficult for this court to interfere with the decision of the government in appointing the respondent No.3 (Saini) as the Director General of Police.”
The case had been pending adjudication for the past 12 months in the high court as it was in April 2012 that a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Voices for Freedom, had challenged Saini’s appointment to the DGP’s post on March 14, 2012.
The petitioner had claimed that in the 1994-95 Ludhiana ‘abduction and killing’ of three persons, the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court had in 2006 chargesheeted Saini and other accused under sections 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), adding that the trial was still pending in the court.
However, on October 16, 2012, discarding the NGO as a petitioner in the public interest litigation on the ground that the NGO did not have the locus standi (legal right to be heard), the high court had taken suo motu notice of the issue to pursue it further, stating that “the issue is of substantial importance”.