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HC bench expresses reservation over a single judge order

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 16:02

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court bench here has expressed "grave reservation" over an order passed by a single judge on Punjab police over the "fake encounters" during the period of militancy in the state in 1990s.

A division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul and Justice Augustine George Masih on Tuesday set aside the order passed by Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh on April 1, 2008.

In 2008, Justice Singh had ordered a CBI probe on a petition filed by then constable Satwant Singh Manak, who had claimed to be witness to several fake encounters conducted by Punjab police.

However, the orders were stayed by a division bench of the High Court in July 2008 on five appeals including one by Bachan Singh Randhawa, one of the DSPs who was accused of a fake encounter.

Yesterday, in the 52-page verdict, the bench recorded its "grave reservation" over the order passed by Justice Singh who, as per the court, on the basis of "personal perceptions" about Punjab police not only made "unwarranted observations", but also ordered a CBI probe into "fake encounters" done by police during the militancy period in the 1990s.

The court held that the Judge should not have even entertained the petition after giving it the "colour of Public Interest Litigation (PIL)."

The court noted that it is only the division bench headed by Chief Justice that is entitled to entertain PILs.

The bench recorded several scathing remarks against the judgement passed by the single judge.

Allowing the appeals yesterday, the Court in its final orders set aside Justice Singh`s order and slapped a penalty of Rs 50,000 on constable Manak.

In his 2008 order, Justice Singh had made disparaging remarks against police. He had ruled that it was "a usual and routine practice" of the Punjab police to conduct such "encounter killings."

The High Court ruled that "in our view these observations are uncalled for."

The constable had alleged ten fake encounters during the early 1990s in Moga, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts of Punjab.

First Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 16:02

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