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HC stays Punjab govt proceedings against three former cops in 2015 sacrilege, firing incidents

The three, who had moved HC, were named in the first information report (FIR) registered for the firing on Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura in Faridkot in October 2015, in which two persons had died.

punjab Updated: Sep 14, 2018 09:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab,Punjab govt,2015 sacrilege
(HT File )

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday stayed the proceedings initiated by the Punjab government against three retired Punjab Police officers, including former Moga senior superintendent of police (SSP) Charanjit Singh Sharma, on the recommendation of the Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh Commission on sacrilege incidents and police firing in 2015.

Two other officers are former Mansa SSP Raghbir Singh Sandhu and the then Bajakhana station house officer (SHO) Amarjit Singh Kalar.

The three, who had moved HC, were named in the first information report (FIR) registered for the firing on Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura in Faridkot in October 2015, in which two persons had died.

The order was passed by the high court bench of justice RK Jain seeking response from the Punjab government by September 20 on the petition challenging the commission reports — one Justice (retd) Jora Singh submitted to the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government in June 2016 and the other by Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh on June 30, 2018, to the present Congress regime — for allegedly considering erroneous facts and circumstances in the case.

They had also sought a stay on the proceedings arising out of recommendation by the Ranjit panel.

Primarily, the report and subsequent proceedings have been challenged on the grounds that both the panels summoned them as witnesses but later indicted them without any hearing in violations of the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, thus jeopardising their reputation. The court was told that the panels ignored the facts that the police party at the protest site was shot at and many cops were injured in the incident.

Challenging the validity of the Ranjit commission, the petitioners’ counsel Akshay Bhan told the court that it was notified by the government even as the first panel was not terminated.

“I am not impugning any motive to the panel heads, but there will be another government tomorrow and it may set up a new panel to probe the same incident. Can it go on like this?” he questioned. It was a fact-finding commission and did not have ‘adjudicatory’ role, the court was told. The second panel had held that the Faridkot incident of firing in October 2015 was unprovoked and uncalled for.

The government on August 23 had issued show-cause notice to these former officers to explain their position regarding the report findings.

On the basis of the panel findings, the names of Charanjit Sharma, then Fazilka SP (detective) Bikramjit Singh and two other cops added on August 11to the FIR registered on October 21, 2015, under Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (acts by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Arms Act at the Bajakhana police station in Faridkot.

Similarly, an FIR was registered on August 7 under Sections 307, 323, 341, 148 and 149 of IPC and Section 27 of the Arms Act against at the Kotkapura city police station against unidentified cops.

Though the then Mansa SSP Sandhu has not been booked by name in any FIR but he was present during police action against protesters at Kotkapura on October 14, 2015.

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 09:19 IST