High Court dismisses review plea in Sacrilege Cases

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On Monday, the High Court of Punjab & Haryana dismissed the review plea by an accused in the sacrilege cases, which sought review of the High Court order, dated Jan 25, 2019, upholding Vidhan Sabha resolution to withdraw consent for a CBI probe.

The detailed order in the matter was yet to be released by the Court.

The accused, Sukhjinder Singh, sought review of Justice Rajan Gupta’s order, dated Jan 25, 2019, upholding the Vidhan Sabha resolution to withdraw consent for the CBI probe.

Sukhjinder Singh, through his lawyer, had alleged that the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act granted the state power to give consent for a CBI probe. But the Act didn’t have provision for permitting the state to withdraw such consent. The counsel also submitted that the applicant was never a party before the Court during the first round of litigation, & secondly, the FIRs, subject matter of the first round, were separate. Two FIRs on police firing were never investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation & were withdrawn before the files could physically be handed over.

However, Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda submitted that an applicant who isn’t a party to the original writ petition can’t file a review. The Advocate General relied upon 3 judgments of the Top Court & the Punjab & Haryana High Court which specifically lay down that an applicant who is not a party to the original writ proceedings cannot file a review.

Justice Gupta’s Bench was also apprised of a letter, dated July 29, 2019, by the Special DGP, Directorate of Bureau of Investigation, to the CBI, forwarding certain new/relevant information on sacrilege cases. Questioning the Punjab AG on the letter’s veracity, Justice Gupta asked whether the action amounted to contempt of court & a breach of Vidhan Sabha privilege. Nanda clarified that the action was without jurisdiction & an Additional Chief Secretary had written to the Union Secretary, DOPT, with a copy to the CBI director for return of cases to the state. 

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