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Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30 AM (IST)RANJIT PANEL REPORT

HC seeks update on probe

Next hearing on Nov 14
HC seeks update on probe
AAP MLA from Delhi Naresh Yadav, who is facing a criminal case for the alleged sacrilege of Quran. File photo

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11

About a month after further proceedings were stayed against two former Senior Superintendents of Police and an ex-Station House Officer in pursuance of recommendations made by Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday called for a status report regarding the investigation conducted so far.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, Justice Rajan Gupta directed the filing of the status report by the next date of hearing in the case — November 14. Accompanied by Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda and counsel Diya Sodhi, former Union minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal told Justice Gupta’s Bench that he would address arguments on an application filed by the state for vacation of stay on the next date of hearing. Counsel for the petitioners senior advocate Akshay Bhan and Sant Pal Singh Sidhu also prayed for additional time to address the arguments.

The petitioners, former SSPs Charanjit Singh and Raghbir Singh Sandhu, along with then Station House Officer of the Bajakhana police station Amarjit Singh, had earlier argued that the first commission set up under Justice Zora Singh could not have been substituted by a second commission.

Their counsel had added that Justice Ranjit Singh Commission went beyond its mandate by involving itself in presumptive adjudicatory process and the commission did not issue notice under Section 8-B of the Commission of Inquiries Act, which says that the commission is mandated to give a person reasonable opportunity of being heard during the inquiry and to produce evidence in his defence.

Nanda, on the other hand, sought the vacation of stay on the ground that the investigation has come to a virtual standstill. In its reply, the government claimed that interim relief had “huge” ramifications and amounted to a blanket stay on further probe. The government, it was added, was of the opinion that Justice Zora Singh Commission’s report could not be accepted. As such, a new commission was set up. The terms of reference of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission were much wider as it included incidents of sacrilege pertaining to Gita and Quran. Thus, it could not be treated as a substitute.

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