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Roop Singh v. Gurmej Singh, SHO & Anr. - COCP-826-2004  RD-P&H 12574 (14 December 2006)
IN THE HIGH COURT FOR THE STATES OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
COCP No.826 of 2004
Date of decision: December 5, 2006.
Gurmej Singh, SHO & Anr.
Present: Shri Harsh Aggarwal, Advocate for the petitioner.
Shri G.S. Cheema, Sr. Dy. Advocate General, Punjab for the respondents.
Surya Kant, J.
In deference to the order dated September 15, 2006, Shri G.S.
Cheema, learned Sr. DAG, Punjab, has filed an affidavit dated 3.12.2006 of G. Nagaswara Rao, SSP, Muktsar, which is taken on record.
In order to highlight as to how the police officials/officers mentioned in the aforesaid affidavit have knowingly, willfully and systematically flouted the directions issued by this Court from time to time, the following facts may be noticed.
On 27.2.1996, one Sohan Singh got allotted some land from the Consolidation Department, which according to the petitioner, was shamilat deh and vested in the Gram Panchayat. The land was allotted at the time when Sohan Singh's son was allegedly Sarpanch of the Gram Panchayat.
The petitioner and some other persons approached this Court by filing CWP COCP No.826 of 2004 -: 2 :-
Nos.12295 and 12296 of 1999 challenged the above stated allotment. These writ petitions were disposed of by a Division Bench of this Court on 28.9.2001 (Annexure P-1) whereby the allotment made in favour of Sohan Singh was set aside on the ground that the order was passed without hearing the right holders who were adversely affected by the same. A direction was, thus, issued to the competent authority to take a fresh decision in the matter after observing principles of natural justice.
In this manner, the allotment made earlier in favour of Sohan Singh stood cancelled as on 28.9.2000.
However, said Sohan Singh mortgaged the land in dispute in favour of State Bank of India on 19.10.2000 (Annexure P-2) claiming himself to be owner thereof.
According to the petitioner, the execution of the aforesaid mortgage was an act of fraud, cheating, misrepresentation, etc. on the part of Sohan Singh. Therefore, he moved a complaint for initiating criminal prosecution against Sohan Singh. His application having yielded no result, he filed Crl. Misc. no.11552-M of 2001, before this Court which was disposed of on March 27, 2001 with a direction to the SSP, Muktsar to look into the petitioner's complaint and take necessary action in accordance with law.
The aforesaid direction led to registration of FIR No.57 dated 28.9.2001, under sections 467, 468, 471, 420 IPC at P.S. Kot Bhai.
As the investigation in the afore-stated FIR was going on at a snail's pace, the petitioner again approached this Court by way of Crl. Misc.
No.21852-M of 2002, which was disposed of by this Court on 27.5.2002 with a direction to the SHO, P.S. Kot Bhai to conclude the investigation COCP No.826 of 2004 -: 3 :-
within a period of three months.
It is thereafter that a cancellation report is stated to have been submitted by ASI Ranjit Singh on 19.5.2002 which was, however, not accepted by the SSP who directed re-investigation in the case on 14.11.2002.
Another cancellation report was submitted on 31.7.2004, however, it appears to have been kept under carpet. This prompted the petitioner to file COCP No.398 of 2003 in which a stand was taken by the respondents that the re-investigation is in progress and on completion thereof, the final report shall be submitted to the appropriate authority in accordance with law. In view of the afore-stated stand, the contempt petition was dismissed on 20.1.2004 with a direction that the investigation be concluded within a period of four months.
This, however, did not happen. The petitioner, therefore, filed the second contempt petition which came up for hearing on 8.7.2004 when the learned State Counsel was directed to apprise this court about the present status of the proceedings.
The cancellation report is stated to have been filed before the court of competent jurisdiction thereafter only i.e. on 21.7.2004.
From the above resume of facts, it is apparent that though the investigation was required to be concluded within a period of three months in terms of the order dated 27.5.2002 passed by this Court in Crl. Misc.
No.21852-M of 2002, the police authorities took almost two years in concluding the same.
In order to find out the cause of inordinate delay and/or the police officials/officers responsible for the same, on July 18, 2006, SSP, COCP No.826 of 2004 -: 4 :-
Muktsar was directed to intimate the names of the police officials who remained Investigating Officers or otherwise connected with the case. It is in deference thereto that the affidavit, referred to above, has been filed by Mr. G. Rageswara Rao.
As per the averments made in the affidavit, the following police officials remaining the investigating officers of the FIR in question from time to time:-
1. Sukhdev Singh Bhatti, SP(D), Muktsar
2. ASI (Retd) Balbir Singh
3. Amrik Singh, SP(D), Muktsar
4. SI (Retd) Atma Singh
5. ASI Gurmail Singh
6. ASI Duli Chand
7. SI Ranjit Singh
8. SI Gopal Chand, SHO PS Kot Bhai
9. ASI Sanjiv Kumar 10.SI Gurmail Singh
Similarly, S/Shri KJS Pannu, Major Singh Dhillon and R.S.
Khatra remained SSP, Muktsar during the relevant period.
Out of the above named police officials/officers, former SSP, Muktsar R.S. Khatra is already impleaded as respondent No.2. Similarly, ASIs Gurmail Singh and Sanjiv Kumar have also filed their affidavits.
In this view of the matter and before any action is taken against the police officials/officers who are responsible for the prima-facie deliberate and willful delay in compliance of the court directions, is taken, let Amrik Singh, SP(D), Muktsar; SI (retd) Atma Singh; ASI Gurmail Singh, ASI Duli Chand, SI Ranjit Singh, SHO, PS Kot Bhai and SI Gopal Chand be impleaded as respondents No.4 to 9 respectively. Out of the newly added respondents, ASI Gurmail Singh is present and accepts notice.
As requested by him, adjourned to January 18, 2007.
COCP No.826 of 2004 -: 5 :-
Meanwhile, reply-affidavit, if any, be filed.
Out of the three SSPs, Major Singh Dhillon, who has since retired, remained posted hardly for a month. It is quite possible that the orders passed by this Court were not brought to his notice during such a short stint. However, prima-facie, KJS Pannu and R.S. Khatra have failed to comply with the directions of this court. Both are directed to be present in court on the adjourned date.
Liberty is granted to them to file their affidavits, if any, in the light of the observations made above.
Let a copy of this order be handed over to Shri G.S. Cheema, learned Sr. DAG, Punjab for information and necessary compliance.
December 5, 2006. [ Surya Kant ]
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