Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday granted bail to former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and MLA Bikram Singh Majithia, but not before observing that the judiciary could not be ridiculed and vandalised.
The two, facing allegations of bringing to disrepute sacrilege commission headed by Justice Ranjit Singh, were directed to appear before the Bench today on a criminal complaint filed by the former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge.
Justice Ranjit Singh had filed the complaint against the two for deliberately and willfully making “false, derogatory and defamatory” statements on public platforms against him. Justice Ranjit Singh has submitted that the intention was to bring to disrepute him and the Commission of Inquiry for looking into the cases of sacrilege in Punjab during the previous SAD-BJP regime.
As the case came up for resumed hearing this afternoon, the two were granted bail on personal surety of Rs 1 lakh each after they appeared before Justice Amit Rawal’s Bench. Taking up the matter, Justice Rawal asked Sukhbir’s counsel Ashok Aggarwal whether he had gone through the recordings apparently referring to CDs annexed along with Justice Ranjit Singh’s complaint against the two. The CDs were examined by the Court to see whether the commission was actually brought to disrepute.
Justice Rawal added he issued notice (to the two) after going through the recordings. “Judiciary should not be ridiculed and vandalized like this. The Constitution of India has given freedom of speech and expression. But it has to be circumscribed,” Justice Rawal added.
Describing the two as senior politicians who had a long way to go, Justice Rawal further added: “It is unnecessarily invited litigation and could have been avoided. Politicians get easily carried away in emotions, instead of applying their mind”.
Appearing for Justice Ranjit Singh, senior advocate APS Deol submitted that the complainant would be filing a list of the witnesses to be examined. Aggarwal and Majithia’s counsel R.S. Cheema, on the other hand, submitted that the question of maintainability of Justice Ranjit Singh’s complaint had been kept open, and they would be making submissions on the issue on the next date of hearing.
Later, the court adjourned the next hearing on the case to August 21. The two will have to appear before the Bench, unless exempted.
Justice Ranjit Singh, in his complaint, has invoked the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, for seeking action.