A local court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Punjab’s local bodies minister, BJP leader Anil Joshi, for repeatedly not appearing for trial in three cases. One case is related to demolition of a building owned by a lawyer who is member of the Congress, and the others are defamation suits related to Joshi’s double-vote scandal.
Joshi was on bail that has been cancelled now, and has to appear in court by May 20. The order was passed by the court of judicial magistrate (first class) PS Ghotra on Saturday, as the cases came up for hearing again.
Certified copies of the order were received on Monday by lawyers Sandeep Gorsi and Vaneet Mahajan, who have filed these cases.
‘Non-bailable’ here means that bail is not a matter of right granted on submission of bonds; but remains at the discretion of the court.
When the cases came up for hearing simultaneously, the minister’s counsel put up an application before the judge praying that Joshi be exempted from personal appearance as “he has gone out of station”.
But the judge wasn’t impressed, and observed, “He (Joshi) is in the habit of filing one exemption application after the other. Even today, he least bothered about the court and did not put in his appearance in the court from 10am to 4am. Hence, his exemption applications are declined.”
Thereafter, the court ordered, “His bail and surety bonds are cancelled and forfeited to the state. Let non- bailable warrants of arrest… be ordered to be issued for his appearance in court on May 20.”
Interpreting the order, Mahajan and Gorsi said the minister can be arrested by the police and sent to jail if he does not appear before the court by May 20.
If he does make an appearance on May 20, the court can order his arrest if he fails to get anticipatory bail from a higher court, they said.
“Joshi is free to challenge this order in the sessions court through a revision petition. He can also seek anticipatory bail from this court before May 20,” the two advocates stated.
After the three cases were filed, Joshi surrendered in the court of the judicial magistrate (FC) in December last and was granted bail.
Since then he has made no appearance in the court; his contentions included being busy with the Lok Sabha elections, voting for which was held in Punjab on April 30.