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Dera violence: Now, prosecution on back foot in defending cases with sedition charges

As per norms, the permission of state government is mandatory to prosecute accused with sedition charges.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2018 13:44 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
sedition charges,Panchkula police,Panchkula arson
Of 10 cases where sedition charges have been included, sanction has been given in two cases—one of which has Honeypreet and 45 members of the dera committee as the accused and other is the one involving the dera chief’s security guards.(HT File )

After Panchkula police, the prosecution lawyers have been caught on the back foot in defending cases with sedition charges against dera sacha sauda followers in connection with the violence that broke out on August 25 following the dera chief’s conviction.

As per norms, the permission of state government is mandatory to prosecute accused with sedition charges.

In last three days, the public prosecutors have sought adjournment in framing of charges in a couple of these cases on the ground that Haryana government’s prosecution sanction is awaited.

One such case is state Vs Hoshiyar Singh in which police framed 10 accused with three sedition charges including Section 121 (waging war against state), Section 121A (conspiracy for waging war) and then Sector 124A for bringing disaffection towards government through words, signs, or otherwise.

The court deferred the hearing on framing of charges for March 9 on the adjournment plea of public prosecutor Romil Lamba but the defence counsels took a strong objection of prosecution’s plea, calling it delaying tactics.

In another case ‘state vs Naib Singh’ in which sedition charges are slapped against 40 dera followers, the public prosecutor NS Bhoria too pleaded for adjournment on similar grounds following which the matter is now listed for March 15.

There are ar present 10 cases where Panchkula police have slapped sedition charges and so far, Haryana government has given sanction only in two cases—one of which is against Honeypreet and 45 members of the dera committee as the accused and other is the one involving the dera chief’s security guards.

In rest of the eight cases, two are already declined while six cases are pending.

The state Vs Harjinder was the one first where court dropped the sedition charges against 53 dera followers in cases.

Defence lawyer SK Rohilla said the police should have secured government permission to levy these charges before filling challan. “If state government has held up and declined sanctions in several cases, it clearly indicates police mindless approach to frame innocent people,” he said.

Rohilla also said that the dera followers who were framed with such notorious sections converged here for faith, not to wage war against the state. “In the violence that occurred on August 25, not a single police personnel was killed. All 36 dead were innocent people. They are now being tried under false premises, he added.

Haryana police spokesperson Mamta Singh, however, said that the charges framed by the police in Panchkula violence cases were based on the evidence they had collected.

She added that as far as prosecution sanction is concerned in cases with sedition charges, the matter is already under consideration of the state government and it will hopefully be decided soon.

“This is the matter between police and the government. We are looking into it,” state home secretary SS Parsad hung up the phone after commenting this when contacted on this issue.

Permission in two cases so far

So far, out of 10 cases where sedition charges have been included, sanction has been given in two cases—one of which has Honeypreet and 45 members of the dera committee as the accused and other is the one involving the dera chief’s security guards.

In rest of the eight cases, two are already declined while six cases are pending. Out of the pending cases, three cases are listed by the end of this month, in which prosecution too is trying hard for adjournment.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 13:44 IST