Read Order: Om Prakash Soni v. State Of Punjab And Ors

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 2, 2022: In response to a plea by Om Prakash Soni, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab bringing in question the May 11, 2022 order of the State Government whereby security cover given to certain person was withdrawn, the Punjab and Haryana High Court  has directed the State counsel to bring relevant material in a sealed cover for perusal of the Court in order to see whether withdrawal/down-gradation/de-categorization of security of beneficiaries (including that of Sidhu Moosewala) was done on the basis of some objective data. 

Also, the Bench of Justice Raj Mohan Singh directed, “Information in respect of order dated 11.05.2022 [order withdrawing security] being available in public domain be also brought on record. Relevant information as to whether the order has become public on account of any RTI information or leakage or in collusion of someone having access to the order in question be also brought on record by the adjourned date.”

This development has come after the unfortunate murder of Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu also known as Sidhu Moosewala, the 28-year old singer from Punjab was shot dead by gunmen after intercepting his vehicle. The Singer-songwriter’s security was recently reduced. 

It was the case of the counsel for the petitioner that decategorization of the security of the petitioner was not on account of any individual assessment made by the committee on the basis of any inputs, rather, such de-categorization was done without issuing any show cause notice to the petitioner and associating the petitioner in connection with any information. 

The counsel further submitted that the security of the deceased was withdrawn with that of  others vide a common order dated May 11, 2022.

On the asking of the Court, Mr. Gaurav Dhuriwala, Sr. DAG, Punjab accepted notice on behalf of the State and Ms. Saigeeta Srivastava, Advocate accepted notice on behalf of Union of India. 

After considering the case put forth by the Counsel for the petitioner, the Court dirceted the State counsel to bring relevant material in a sealed cover for perusal of the Court in order to see whether withdrawal/down-gradation/de-categorization of security of beneficiaries was done on the basis of some objective data. 

Information in respect of order dated May 11, 2022 (available in public domain) was also asked by the Court to be brought on record. Relevant information as to whether the order became public on account of any RTI information or leakage or in collusion of someone having access to the order in question, was directed by the Court to be brought on record by the adjourned date. 

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