Read Order: SHOBHA VS STATE OF PUNJAB AND OTHERS

LE Staff

Chandigarh, September 1, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana HC has held that no reference for initiation of contempt of Court proceedings is required to be made against Harvinder Pal Singh, PPS, Investigating Officer, with respect to an email which pertained to certain averments regarding undue hurry being shown by this Bench and the manner in which no opportunity was being given to the State to present its case.

The e-mail in question, which was sent by the Investigating Officer in reference to an FIR dated September 17,2020 at PS FSI, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, was regarding the transfer of a case dealing with the petition relating to the arrest of former DGP, Punjab, Sumedh Singh Saini, from this Bench to any other Coordinate Bench.

The Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi opined that the where litigant has a reasonable apprehension of not getting justice from a particular Court, he has the remedy of applying for transfer of the case which remedy cannot be denied to any litigant.

In case of filing of any such application in respect of any case pending in this Court, the matter lies within the jurisdiction and in the discretion of the Chief Justice to take a decision on the same and in respect of any case pending before any Subordinate or District Court within the jurisdiction and discretion of the Court of District/Sessions Judge or Chief Judicial Magistrate to whom the application is made, noted the Court.

While observing that in case any order of withdrawal of the case from this Bench is so made on any such application, there would and could hardly be any objection, the Bench also added that whether any valid ground for transfer is made out is for the Chief Justice to decide and not for the concerned Bench.

The Bench also stated that the averments made in the email that “the endeavour to pass some orders in a hurry, despite information of the applicant/petitioner therein having been already formally arrested and being produced before the Jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate, Mohali having been given to the Hon’ble Bench, leaves no scope of doubt about the apparent outcome of the case” were not proper, yet one could not loose sight of the fact that they were part of the application made to  the Chief Justice and were not meant for communication to the public at large or any litigant in particular and were not required to be communicated and ought not to have been communicated to this Bench.

It was also made clear by the Court that the said communication was not owned by the respondent (State of Punjab) and no request for recusal by this Bench was made on its behalf. This Bench continued with the matter as there was no communication regarding withdrawal of the cases from this Bench.

“The e-mail seems to have been sent by an over energetic police officer but the same could not be a matter of his own choice and he seems to have been ill advised regarding the same by someone from behind the scene”, said the Bench.

Deciding the matter, the Bench concluded by stating that the majesty of this Court is preserved and upheld not by initiation of contempt proceedings but by the manner in which it protects fundamental rights of the citizens and extends equal protection of laws and equality before law and justice to all who approach this Court.

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