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Posted at: Jun 14, 2018, 1:31 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2018, 1:31 AM (IST)

Judge who fined Brahm Mohindra removed

Following a string of rulings against the powerful, Manju Rana’s removal was ordered
Judge who fined Brahm Mohindra removed
Manju Rana, chairperson of the Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services), Kapurthala. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 13

Following her tumultuous tenure as the chairperson of the Permanent Lok Adalat at Kapurthala, Judge Manju Rana was removed from her position last evening. Her removal came days after she slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on Brahm Mohindra, the Punjab Health Minister, for ignoring orders.

Rana said she had an inkling this was coming but maintained that due process had not been followed in her removal and that she would challenge it in the High Court.

While imposing a fine on Health Minister Brahm Mohindra in a case related to dengue as well as lack of infrastructure at the Kapurthala Civil Hospital, was among her recent decisions, the other rulings included those on the removal of controversial illegal structures on the national highway (which included her taking on some big corporate and private firms in the region), acting against the Kapurthala Nagar Council for failing to remove encroachments in the city, and summoning all councillors in Kapurthala for the dengue outbreak last year.

Having worked earlier as the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Moga, for one-and-half-years, she became the chairperson of the Lok Adalat, Kapurthala. She had joined the judicial services in Punjab in 1991 as civil judge, junior division.

Speaking to The Tribune, Rana said, “Action has been taken against me without following the due process of law. I was expecting a retaliation in view of my bold decisions, by those affected by the decisions. All I can say is that I had no personal motive in the crackdowns or rulings.”

“I believe the order against me is not as per law since no time was given to me for an explanation. Without any inquiry, without any explanation being sought, or evidence recorded, or myself being held guilty in any inquiry, a single order has removed me from the position. I plan to make a representation to the High Court to reconsider my case.”

Timeline of PLA chairperson’s action

September 27, 2017: Taking cognisance of the spread of dengue in Kapurthala with the death of five persons in a month - Manju Rana, chairperson, Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services), issued summons to Health Minister Brahm Mohindra, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sindhu, Secretary, Health, CMO, Kapurthala, and the president and executive officer of the local MC to appear in her court.

October 5, 2017: Dr Rajiv Bhalla, Director, Punjab Health Services, appeared before the Permanent Lok Adalat (PLA) at Kapurthala on behalf of Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra and gave an undertaking to upgrade facilities for treating dengue in the district.

November 10, 2017: The Permanent Lok Adalat summoned all Kapurthala councillors, asking them to sign an undertaking to keep their area free from litter and waterlogging. Around 15 of the 26 councillors appeared in the court on November 16, giving an undertaking to take stringent measures to curb dengue.

February 7, 2018: A fine of Rs 5,000 was imposed on the Kapurthala Nagar Council for its failure to remove encroachments from the Kotu Chowk dumping site. The Nagar Council was instructed to remove all encroachments on the dumping site by March 1 and submit a report in this regard.

March 12, 2018: Rana launched a crackdown on buses stopping illegally in front of the Lovely Professional University on the Jalandhar-Phagwara highway. Over 50 buses were challaned in a five-hour long operation. The police also confiscated over two dozen vehicles parked illegally on the national highway.

March 15, 2018: She summoned LPU Chancellor Ashok Mittal to appear in person to respond to the complaints of students regarding overcharging and harassment on the university premises. She also directed the Kapurthala police to take appropriate action against advocate SK Adhikari, counsel of the Haveli restaurant, for alleged misbehaviour during removal of encroachments outside the restaurant.

April 17, 2018: Rana barred the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) from collecting toll at the Ladowal barrier near Phillaur. The court observed that the NHAI had been unable to control the flow of overloaded vehicles running at a speed of 100 to 120 kmph, even as 71 accidents had been reported in the area in the past five years and many victims had died. Her order read: “The road does not comply with safety provisions under the Control of National Highway, Land and Traffic Act, 2000... Accidents have increased day by day in an area of 10 km falling within the jurisdiction of Chaheru police station... Hence, the NHAI is stopped from charging toll at the barrier till the compliance of the order.”

June 6, 2018: Rana slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 each on Health Minister Brahm Mohindra; Principal Secretary, Health, Satish Chandra; Director, Health Services, Dr Jaspal Kaur; and Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Mohhamad Tayyab for not appearing in court despite repeated summons issued to them in the last six months.

June 12, 2018: State government removes Manju Rana as chairperson, Permanent Lok Adalat (PLA), Kapurthala.

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