Read Order: SUMEDH SINGH SAINI v. STATE OF PUNJAB
Chandigarh, August 3, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab government to issue one week advance notice to the state’s former Director-General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini before arresting him — in case the state contemplates to do so in a criminal case against him — so as to enable him to have recourse to remedies in accordance with the law.
The directions comes after Saini moved a petition for anticipatory bail apprehending that the new Special Investigative Team (SIT) probing the police firing on Sikh protesters in sacrilege-related cases in Kotakpura (Faridkot), summoned him for questioning. Saini was the then DGP when police firing killed two protesters in October, 2015, triggering state-wide protests.
Saini’s petition pertains to seeking anticipatory bail in an FIR dated 7 August, 2018, under Sections 307, 326, 324, 323, 341, 201, 218, 120-B, 148, 149 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 25 and 27 of Arms Act, 1959, registered at Police Station City Kotkapura, District Faridkot.
The petitioner apprehended arrest on being summoned for 26 March, 2021 by the Court of Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Faridkot on presentation of 4th Supplementary Report under Section 173(8) Cr.P.C.
Notice of motion was issued on 4 March, 2021. Meanwhile, the arrest of the petitioner in the FIR was stayed. On 22 March, 2021 the interim directions were modified and the arrest of the petitioner was stayed. However, the prosecution/state was given liberty to proceed with the matter in accordance with law.
Meanwhile, the HC vide order dated 9 April, 2021 set aside the charge sheet filed in the present FIR.
Thereafter, a fresh SIT was constituted.
The senior counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted before the HC that there is still apprehension of arrest by the petitioner, as he has been summoned by the new SIT.
It would be appropriate to note that the petitioner was not named in the FIR. It was only on the basis of 4th Supplementary Report under Section 173(8) Cr.P.C. that the petitioner was summoned. The charge sheet and 4th Supplementary Report no longer exists. Now there is a fresh investigation by a newly constituted SIT.
Deciding the matter, the bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan stated that it would not be appropriate to ignore the factual background of the case. The petitioner served the State being IPS officer. “This Court in CRM-M-45242-2018 while considering various aspects involved including political colour, vide order dated 11th October, 2018 granted a protection that in case petitioner is to be arrested, a clear seven days notice would be served,” the bench said.
“In view of change in circumstances during the pendency of this petition, the present petition is disposed of. In case the petitioner is sought to be arrested, one week’s notice shall be given to the petitioner so as to enable him to have recourse to remedies available to him,” stated the bench.