SACRILEGE PANEL HC dismisses justice Ranjit Singh’s criminal plaint against Sukhbir, Majithia
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday dismissed a criminal complaint by justice Ranjit Singh (retd) against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior party leader Bikram Singh Majithia filed under the Commissions of Inquiry (CoI) Act for allegedly bringing disrepute to the panel on sacrilege cases.
Pronouncing the judgment in an open court, justice Amit Rawal said that it was being dismissed on the question of ‘maintainability’. A detailed order in this regard is awaited.
Right from the beginning, Badal and Majithia have been arguing that the complaint was not maintainable under CoI Act.
Justice Singh, who looked into sacrilege cases in Punjab and subsequent firing by cops on Sikh protesters in 2015, had complained against the two leaders on January 29 this year.
The Ranjit Singh panel was constituted on April 14, 2017 by the Congress government whose term expired on August 31, 2018. In his complaint to HC, justice Singh had stated that the two leaders termed his report as a “pile of waste paper” and referred to the judge as ‘injustice’ Ranjit Singh. Sukhbir even accused the former judge of acting in a ‘malicious manner’ and indulging into ‘cheating and forgery’ while preparing the report, justice Singh had told the court demanding action against them for bringing ‘disrepute’ to the commission.
Sukhbir and Majithia have been arguing that when the complaint was made he had demitted the office. Hence, the high court could not have entertained the complaint under CoI Act. The duo argued that HC can take note of the complaint only if commission exists and complaint is made within six months of offence.
On the other hand, justice Ranjit Singh had argued that the act of alleged disrepute was committed when he was in the office and he was in his right to invoke the privileges of a CoI.
As per justice Ranjit, the alleged press conferences that amounted to bringing disrepute were held by Sukhbir and Majithia on August 22 and 23 and the CoI wound up on August 31.