The Delhi high court on Tuesday refused to stay a lower court decision ordering a de novo (fresh) trial against two alleged Sikh militants who were deported in 2000 from Pakistan after serving life term for hijacking an Air India plane to that country in 1981.
Justice Pratibha Rani, however, exempted the two accused -- Tejinder Pal Singh and Satnam Singh -- from personal appearance before the trial court.
“A fresh trial/proceedings before the lower court will not be stayed. Let the trial court proceed with the case,” the judge said.
The court’s observation came while hearing the appeal filed by the duo seeking setting aside of the order to try them afresh after registering an FIR.
Tejinder Singh, a Jalandhar resident, and Satnam Singh of Chandigarh have also sought quashing of the trial court’s order to declare them proclaimed offenders in the case.
The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on December 4.
The duo, along with three others -- Gajender Singh, Karan Singh Kini and Jasbir Singh Jima -- were deported from Pakistan to India in 2000 after serving life term for hijacking the AI plane to that country from here.
The case against the five dates back to September 29, 1981, when they hijacked an Air India plane from New Delhi to Srinagar en route Amritsar and forced it to land in Pakistan, where they were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.
After their deportation to India in 2000, they had sought their discharge from the case registered here, but a sessions court had dismissed their plea and had asked the police to file a chargesheet against them.