SC ‘shocked’ over HC order on protection to ex-Punjab DGP

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The Supreme Court on Friday expressed “shock” on the “unprecedented” order passed by the Punjab and Haryana high court of protecting former Punjab director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini in all future cases and asked the high court chief justice to decide his plea within two weeks.

Also read: Cases against Saini: HC extends stay order on probe till April 20

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli asked the chief justice of the high court to either hear the matter himself or assign it to another bench and not to the one who passed the interim order.

The top court termed the high court order granting protection to Saini in all future cases as “unprecedented”.

The bench said, “This is an unprecedented order. How can a future course of action be stayed? It is shocking and three of us (judges) feel that it is unprecedented. This will require a hearing.”

Yesterday, the high court extended till April 20 the stay on the arrest of Saini in all cases pending against him or likely to be registered, except the murder of Balwant Singh Multani as it’s pending before the Supreme Court.

In its order, the apex court said, “We will request the high court to dispose of the petition by another judge and not the same judge within two weeks. We request the chief justice to take it up himself or by any other judge and we will keep this matter (SLP) pending in the (Supreme) Court.”

In the high court, Saini has sought to transfer all criminal cases pending against him to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Saini, told the bench that there have been attempts of arrest by the Punjab government against Saini. He argued that there were assassination attempts on the former DGP and more than half-a-dozen cases were registered against him.

To this, CJI Ramana said, “Whatever it may be, you can’t pass an order saying in future cases also he can’t be arrested? What is this?”

Punjab advocate general DS Patwalia argued that by the high court there is a blanket stay, protection against everything.

Saini, a 1982-batch IPS officer, who was the youngest DGP in the country, retired in 2018 after 36 years of service.


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