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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Haryana files additional affidavit in high court: 68 cases registered against 34 former, sitting MPs, MLAs

Hearing in the suo-motu matter related to the cases pending against the MPs/MLAs (sitting or erstwhile) resumed on Thursday.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
May 28, 2021 4:26:43 am
Punjab and Haryana High Court. (File Photo)

The Haryana government on Thursday while filing an additional affidavit in the High Court submitted that in total 68 cases are registered against 34 former/sitting MPs and MLAs.

Hearing in the suo-motu matter related to the cases pending against the MPs/MLAs (sitting or erstwhile) resumed on Thursday.

The state government, through counsel, Additional Advocate General, Ankur Mittal along with Sanjay Kumar, IGP (Administration) submitted that in the status report dated May 23, 2021, it was inadvertently mentioned that 21 under trial cases were registered in the State of Haryana against 8 ex-MLAs of Haryana and 2 Ex-MLAs from Himachal Pradesh.

“In total 68 (21+03+37+7) cases, registered against 34 Former/Sitting MPs/MLAs in the State of Haryana, are pending out of which 21 cases are under trial in the State as mentioned in the status report dated May 23, 2021 submitted by the deponent, 3 cases have been transferred to CBI and 44 cases are under investigation. These cases stand registered against 2 sitting MP/MLA of outside Haryana and 10 Sitting/Ex-MLAs of Haryana,” submitted the Haryana government, as per the HC order.

Meanwhile, Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India, in a status report filed by way of affidavit of Karun Kumar Kataria, mentioned that charges were framed on October 9, 2018 in two cases against ex-MLAs — Avinash Chander and Sarwan Singh Phillaur.

Out of 68, 63 prosecution witnesses have been examined. However, proceedings have been stayed by Supreme Court vide order dated January 28, 2019 passed in WP (Criminal) 175 of 2018 and next date of hearing is slated for July 30, 2021.

He further submits that in two separate cases registered against Haryana former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, chargesheet was filed before Special Judge, CBI-cum-Special Court, PMLA at Panchkula by ED in land cases. In both the cases, cognizance has been taken.

Rupinder Khosla, amicus curiae, referring to the judgment in Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay versus Union of India and another, pointed out that, as per the judgment, “If stay is granted, it should not normally be unconditional or of indefinite duration. Appropriate conditions may be imposed so that the party in whose favour stay is granted is accountable if court finally finds no merit in the matter and the other side suffers loss and injustice. To give effect to the legislative policy and the mandate of Article 21 for speedy justice in criminal cases, if stay is granted, matter should be taken on day-to-day basis and concluded within two-three months. Where the matter remains pending for longer period, the order of stay will stand vacated on expiry of six months, unless extension is granted by a speaking order showing extraordinary situation where continuing stay was to be preferred to the final disposal of trial by the trial Court. This timeline is being fixed in view of the fact that such trials are expected to be concluded normally in one to two years.”

“In view of the law laid down in the aforesaid case, trial courts to proceed with the trial notwithstanding any stay granted by the High Court unless fresh order is passed extending the stay by recording reasons, and in the alternative, Registrar Generals may be directed to place the matters involving MPs and MLAs before the Chief Justice for appropriate orders for urgent listing of such cases.”

The bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh, after hearing the contention of amicus curiae said, “States as well as central agency would ensure that the aforesaid order is examined by all the respective investigating officers to ensure due compliance. This court shall also be apprised on the next date of hearing of inordinate delay, if any, in culmination of investigation(s) pending before various investigating agencies. Needless to observe that undue delay in concluding an investigation is infringement to right to fair and expeditious investigation and trial which flows from Article 21 of the Constitution.”

The division bench of the HC had sought information of all the cases pending against the MPs/MLAs (sitting or erstwhile) in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, on the order passed by Supreme court in writ petition (civil) of 2016 titled as Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay versus Union of India and another.

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