THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court Tuesday pulled up the Punjab government for delay in action against the officials accused of selling fancy registration numbers at a much lower rate than the prescribed fee and warned that it will summon the Chief Secretary of the state to the court.
The division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli had earlier asked the secretary of the state transport department to inform the court regarding disciplinary proceedings initiated against erring officials and steps being taken to retrieve the numbers, which were wrongfully and illegally allotted. The court also had sought details regarding any criminal proceedings initiated in the matter.
However, the bench on Tuesday was informed that the state has sought a legal opinion from the Advocate General regarding the criminal action to be initiated in the matter. The court in response said, “Does the state of Punjab always take opinion of the Advocate General before initiating criminal action?”
The bench observed that it was an attempt to push things under the carpet and added that it has been showing a “lot of patience” towards the state officials. “Let’s have the Chief Secretary here in court…,” the court said, adding the status report does not make it clear what is happening even in departmental proceedings initiated against the officials.
On the government counsel seeking a date of hearing beyond May 23 – the date of Lok Sabha election results, the bench said it will not adjourn the case for a date after the upcoming holiday vacation. “Let your AG give the opinion and then we will see what has to be done. What is so sacrosanct about May 23,” the court observed.