Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday asked a petitioner to produce judgments to satisfy the court on its jurisdiction to direct Punjab chief minister for removal of his cabinet colleague convicted on corruption charges.
The high court bench of justices SS Saron and Ramendra Jain was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Moga resident, who has sought removal of Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh from state cabinet on account of his conviction and one year’s imprisonment and framing of charges in another case under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
After his conviction on May 5, 2012, Tota Singh had submitted his resignation. He was convicted for misusing a car belonging to the Punjab School Education Board. His sentence was subsequently suspended by the high court and was given bail.
The high court has also asked petitioner to satisfy the bench regarding his locus-standi to file the public interest litigation against Tota Singh, since he is political opponent of the agriculture minister and had also filed an election petition against him.
Advocate HC Arora, who had appeared for the petitioner, had pleaded in his arguments that it is a matter seeking enforcement of Supreme Court judgment for which every citizen has right to approach the high court. As per the petitioner, the SC order says, “the person with criminal antecedents against whom heinous or serious criminal or charges of corruption are there, should not be made a minister”.
As agriculture minister’s counsel sought adjournment for filing reply on the petition, the high court adjourned the matter for December 5.