Updated: May 11, 2022 1:10:02 am
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday ruled that BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, who is facing charges in a case for allegedly making provocative statements on social media promoting religious enmity and criminal intimidation, cannot be arrested till July 6, the next date of hearing.
The matter came up for hearing before the bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara and went on for nearly 45 minutes. The bench was hearing Bagga’s plea for quashing the FIR registered against him by Punjab Police in Mohali for allegedly making inflammatory statements against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as well as his petition against the arrest warrants issued by a Mohali court.
The bench was also hearing the petition of the Punjab Police against the detention of its personnel in Haryana and Delhi. It also allowed an application of the Punjab Police to implead the central government and Delhi Police commissioner, the respondents in the case.
The Delhi BJP spokesperson Bagga was arrested from his Janakpuri residence last Friday in connection with the case filed in Mohali on April 1. The Punjab Police convoy taking Bagga to their state was stopped by Haryana Police and later Delhi Police filed an FIR against Punjab personnel for abducting the BJP leader. Punjab Police comes under the newly formed AAP government, Haryana Police is under the BJP government, and Delhi Police under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
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Advocate General Anmol Rattan Sidhu and senior advocate Puneet Bali, appearing for the Punjab government, contended that Bagga’s conduct is shocking, and he should have applied for anticipatory bail. They added Bagga has not been joining the investigation in the case. After the registration of the First Information Report against him, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader posted tweets which are dividing the country on religious lines and creating religious disharmony, they argued.
The counsels said that they have filed additional documents before the HC, and that the Punjab government has given an undertaking that it will not execute arrest warrants against Bagga till the next date of hearing. On this, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered that no coercive action shall be taken against Bagga till July 6.
Lawyers representing Bagga, senior advocates Chetan Mittal and R S Rai, contended that a false FIR based on an incomplete statement of the complainant has been lodged against the BJP leader. The lawyers submitted before the high court they suspect the Punjab Police act will take another step against Bagga and thus his arrest and the investigation must be stayed completely.
Appearing for the complainant, Dr Sunny Ahluwalia, senior advocate Vinod Ghai along with Kanika Ahuja argued that the investigation cannot be stayed. Even though Bagga was issued five notices, he has not joined the investigation and he has been repeating the offence by tweeting provocative speech, they said.
After hearing the arguments, the bench of Justice Chitkara ordered that no chargesheet shall be filed in the matter by the Punjab Police till the next date of hearing. The HC, however, did not grant any stay on the investigation.
Allowing Punjab Police to question Bagga, the bench said that if they want to interrogate the BJP leader, they will have to do it at his residence and in the presence of his counsel. The HC also said Bagga can be questioned only twice before the next date of hearing for only an hour by three personnel, including an officer not below the rank of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
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