Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday issued fresh notices to the former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia in the criminal complaint case filed by retired High Court judge Ranjit Singh against them. The high court has also ordered Badal and Majithia to remain personally present on the next date of hearing.
Justice Amit Rawal on February 20 had issued a notice to Badal and Majithia in the case. However, the Court on Monday was informed that notices issued to Badal and Majithia have been returned unserved due to some lapse on part of the court staff. The bench earlier in the open court had ordered the issuance of bailable warrants against the two.
“The court has recalled the order for bailable warrants. They have been issued notice and asked to remain present on the next date of hearing,” said advocate Himmat Deol, who represents Ranjit Singh in the case.
Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh in February approached the High Court under Section 10A (acts calculated to bring Commission or any member into disrepute) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act alleging that Badal and Majithia made defamatory statements against him in connection with the report of the Commission set up by the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government to investigate various incidents of desecration in Punjab.
On August 23 last year, Badal held a press conference in Amritsar insinuating that Ranjit Singh had no legal qualification and also alleged that Singh had fabricated the documents including witness statements in preparation of the Commission report.
On August 27, the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, including Majithia, mocked the report in a demonstration held outside the Assembly and staged the report’s mock sale while shouting it was available at Rs five in the market. The two incidents have been cited as evidence in the complaint.
According to Section 10A (2) of the Act, “when an offence … is alleged to have been committed, the High Court may take cognizance of such offence, without the case being committed to it, upon a complaint in writing, made by a member of a Commission or an officer of the Commission authorised by it in this behalf”.