March 3, 2012 3:29:03 am
Conceals a case was pending against her at time of appointment
A Judical magistrate,posted at a court in Punjabs Gurdaspur district,is under scanner for having concealed that a criminal case was pending against her at the time when she was appointed to the judicial services in March,2010.
Taking strong note of the misconduct and overruling the findings of a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge which had given a clean chit to the judicial magistrate the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has referred the matter to the high courts Administrative Committee.
The case pertains to Judicial Magistrate Baljinder Kaur,posted at Batala court in Gurdaspur. She was selected for judicial services in March 18,2010. Despite an FIR (a copy of which is with The Indian Express) pending against her,she did not disclose this at the time of her appointment and got into the judicial services.
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A couple of complaints highlighting the issue were sent to the Chief Justice. Based on a complaint received in the Chief Justices secretariat on November 16,the Chief Justice,on November 19,2011,passed an order conveyed through the special secretary which read: This application/letter has been received in the Honble Chief Justices Secretariat. Honble the Chief Justice has been pleased to direct that the same be forwarded to your goodself for attaching the same with the similar/identical complaint/letter sent earlier.
Acting on the orders passed by the Chief Justice,Justice M Jeyapaul the Administrative Judge of Gurdaspur Sessions Division sought comments from Baljinder Kaur. She submitted her comments vide a letter dated December 1,2011 through the director (Administration) of the Chandigarh Judicial Academy.
Based on her comments,on December 19,2011,Jeyapaul gave Baljinder a clean chit and passed an order that there was no substance in the complaint filed against her and even the chargesheet does not implicate her.
The report was placed before Chief Justice,who passed further orders on the case,on December 21,2011 Seen column No. 12 (viii) of application form submitted by the officer. FIR No. 32 of PS – Phagwara was pending at that point of time. Regardless of what may have happened subsequently the officer was required to mention the said fact in her application form,which she has no, it read.
Notices were again issued to Baljinder for submitting her comments. On January 27,2012,she submitted her explanation,which were placed before the Chief Justice. On perusal of the explanation,the Chief Justice on February 13 referred the case to the Administrative Committee for further action.
Prior to joining judicial services,Baljinder,along with husband Himmat Singh,used to run an immigration network in Phagwara.
On September 24,2009,Phagwara resident Jaswinder Singh had lodged a complaint against Baljinder and her husband. Jaswinder alleged that Baljinder and Himmat Singh had taken Rs 5 lakh during November 11,2004 to May 13,2005 for sending his son to Italy. But nothing was done in this regard.
Based on his complaint,an inquiry was ordered by the police,which was conducted by a DSP. After the inquiry,the Punjab Police even obtained a legal opinion in the case and finally,a case was registered against Himmat Singh and Baljinder for criminal breach of trust and cheating at Phagwara police station on March 14,2010.
Baljinder did not divulge that a criminal case pending against her in her application form while applying to the judicial services. When contacted,Baljinder admitted that a case was pending against her at the time when she got into judicial services I have already apologised for this to the Chief Justice. I was not aware that I had to disclose this at the time of my appointment. The police have given me a clean chit. The case is though pending,but I am innocent, she added.
Following the registration of the FIR against them,relationship between Baljinder and her husband strained and they filed cases and counter-cases against each other in various courts. At present,their divorce petition pending in the court and the couple lives separately.
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