A Punjab and Haryana high court division bench on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Moga molestation incident.
The court was hearing suo motu proceedings in the case, wherein a girl was killed after she and her mother were thrown out of a moving bus on April 29. The bus belonged to Orbit Aviation, a company partially owned by the ruling Badal family. The incident had triggered a political storm in Punjab.
The division bench of justice SK Mittal and justice Shekher Dhawan dismissed the petition, observing that as the matter was sub judice in a lower court and a challan had already been presented, no further direction could be issued. Earlier, in his submissions, the petitioner advocate had alleged that police were trying to hush up the matter as the bus belonged to the Badals. However, the high court told him to approach the trial court.
As the hearing began, Punjab advocate general Ashok Aggarwal presented before the court a draft notification, whereby the scope of the judicial commission appointed to probe the incident had been enhanced. The court adjourned the matter sine die in view of the proposed mandate of the commission and directed it to submit its report at the earliest.
Another matter born out of this incident, whereby a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed on the issue of ‘conflict of interest’ of the ruling Badals with regard to the transport sector, is also under the court’s consideration.
The amicus curiae in the case, advocate RS Bains, apprised the court that the state was yet to file its response about in how many cases was the compensation given to the Moga victim’s family granted to others as well and under what scheme. It has been alleged that the compensation was given to ‘silence’ the victim’s family.
However, the court adjourned the matter sine die, stating that “let the commission come out with its report.”
The Justice VK Bali (retd) commission was announced by the state government on May 14 to look into the incident. Later, on the high court’s intervention, it proposed to enhance its scope. But the government is yet to come out with a notification in this regard.
Another petition, also pertaining to the Badals’ ‘conflict of interest’ in the transport sector, is still pending before the court.
Mandate of Bali commission
Suggest ways and means for framing the time table of buses
Suggest procedure to be followed for balancing interest of all stakeholders
Suggest ways to ensure road safety of pedestrians
Suggest ways and means for preventing dangerous and negligent operation of public transport (government and private) buses
Suggest measures to be taken for ensuring safety of passengers travelling by public transport
Suggest measures to fix civil liabilities against public transport operators if there is any incident of manhandling or injuries are caused to passengers
Suggest training of operational staff and public transport buses