The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday issued notices to the Punjab chief secretary, director general of police (DGP) and Orbit Aviation, the transport company owned by the ruling Badal family, regarding the Moga molestation incident.
The state government has been told to submit a report on the action taken against the driver, conductor and other staff members of the bus in the Moga case. The replies have to be filed by May 15, the next date of hearing.
Taking up the suo motu petition, the division bench of justice Hemant Gupta and justice Lisa Gill also directed the state government to file a report specifying the number of buses owned by its public transport undertakings and also the privately-owned ones, along with their ownership details.
The HC has also sought a reply from the state transport commissioner about the incident.
The court appointed advocates RS Bains and HC Arora as amicus curiae in the case. However, it refused to entertain applications of advocate HC Arora and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur, seeking their impleading as party in the case. Chhotepur was being represented by Bains.
“Don’t make it an ‘AAP vs Akalis’ issue. Let them fight in their constituencies, not in this court,” the HC bench said in the open court while dismissing both applications “as withdrawn”.
Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal was present during the hearing and assisting the court, besides others who were representing the state before the bench.
On Monday, a division bench headed by justice Satish Kumar Mittal had recused itself from hearing the petition. The suo motu petition was initiated by the high court following a letter from former president of Chandigarh Rotary Club Raj Kumar Luther, seeking the high court’s intervention in the incident.
Luther, a resident of SAS Nagar, had written the letter last week, saying that he was “shocked and highly disturbed” to read reports about the “death of a young girl jumping off the running bus along with her mother to escape molestation by the bus conductor and goondas in the bus.”