Read Judgment- Sumedh Singh Saini v. State Of Punjab And Anr

LE Staff

Chandigarh, September 13,2021: While reiterating the principle of ‘audi alteram partem’ (nobody should be condemned unheard), the Punjab and Haryana HC has observed that considering it to be a case of exceptional circumstances and hardship being caused to the petitioner (Sumedh Singh Saini,retired I.P.S. Officer) by the State of Punjab (on political grounds), there will be a clear stay for the arrest of the petitioner in all cases pending or likely to be registered or registered or where he is sought to be implicated in the aid of Section 120-B,IPC, except for one  FIR, where the matter is pending before the Supreme Court, till the General Election in the State of Punjab are held which are due in February, 2022 onwards.

The Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan also referred to a story from Panch Tantra regarding Evolution of Legal Jurisprudence in India and found merit in the submissions made by the petitioner’s counsel that involvement of the petitioner in multiple cases can be a political ploy in wake of the coming State Legislative Assembly General Elections.

The petitioner had prayed for issuance of a direction to hand-over investigation in any matter registered against the petitioner to Central Bureau of Investigation or to any other independent agency outside the State of Punjab as the petitioner apprehended his false implication in criminal cases on account of malice, mala fides and ulterior motives on the part of the political party in power in the State.

Another prayer had been made for issuance of a direction to keep any proposal for arresting the petitioner, in any criminal matter, in abeyance for a specific period so as to enable the petitioner to seek recourse to his legal remedies.

From the petitioner’s side it was mainly argued that in wake of the coming Punjab State Legislative Elections due in February, 2022, the prosecution of petitioner was just a political ploy. It was also stated that the petitioner had joined the investigation number of times, however, again the petitioner had been served with a notice to join the investigation on September 13,2021, and the petitioner apprehended that he might be arrested again in some other FIR as the respondent had made an attempt of arresting the petitioner despite the protection granted to him in other cases.

The respondents contended that the scope of Section 482 Cr.P.C., cannot be expanded to grant blanket bail orders to a person except in cases where special circumstances are made out.

Justice Sangwan noted that he was also conspicuous of the dare shown by the Punjab Police officials in trying to overreach the Court which was also a circumstance to be considered about the nature and quality of investigation being conducted by the Punjab Police in the FIRs.

The Bench has also held that there will be a clear stay for conducting further investigation in all the FIRs pending against the petitioner as the attempts are made to arrest him in the aid of Section 120-B IPC as even in the previous FIRs where such attempts are made and the petitioner had to file repeated petitions before this Court.

“There will be a clear stay of conducting or pursuing any other investigation including by any commission appointed by the State of Punjab till February, 2022”, added the Court.

Listing the hearing of the case on December 13,2021, the Bench also directed that the personal appearance of the petitioner before any Court where any trial is pending shall also remain exempted till February, 2022, on moving an appropriate application under Section 205 Cr.P.C., before the said Court. The Court has held that the petitioner will not leave the country without the prior permission of this Court till February, 2022.

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