Punjab and Haryana High Court pulls up prison officials for allowing Lawrence Bishnoi TV interview from jail

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday expressed grave concern over gangster Lawrence Bishnoi’s interview with a television channel and called for action against officials of the jail where he was lodged at the time of the interview [Court on its Own Motion vs State of Punjab and Others].

Bishnoi is a suspect in the murder of Punjabi singer Shubdeep Singh Sidhu alias Sidhu Moosewala and his interview was telecast by a news channel in March this year. In the interview with ABP News, he said he knew about the murder plot.

The division bench of Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal and Justice Kirti Singh took note of Bishnoi’s interview, while hearing a suo motu matter related to use of mobile phones within the jail premises by inmates.

During the hearing, the Punjab government told the Court that Bishnoi was in judicial custody in the Bathinda Jail when the interview was telecast. It also submitted that a two-member committee has been constituted to enquire into the matter.

The Court said that it was a matter of grave concern that a suspect in custody was allowed to conduct an interview at length.

The officers who permitted or facilitated it need to be identified and taken to the task at the earliest, the bench underscored.

“The Committee had been constituted in March 2023 and 7 months have elapsed but not much headway has been made,” said the bench.

Hence, the Court directed the Additional Director General of Prisons to file an affidavit on such delay by the Committee to submit its report.

The Court initiated public interest litigation after a single-judge took the suo motu note of the illegal use of mobile phones in the jails of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

While issuing notice to the two States and UT Administration, the Court appointed advocate Tanu Bedi as amicus curiae.

Additional Advocate General Ishma Randhawa represented State of Punjab

Additional Advocate General Bijender Dhankhar represented the State of Haryana

Public Prosecutor Munish Bansal represented the UT Chandigarh

Advocate Sumit Kumar appeared for amicus curiae Tanu Bedi

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