Punjab

PUNJAB GOVT FILES REVISION PETITION CHALLENGING CBI COURT’S ‘ARBITARY & UNJUST’ REFUSAL TO GIVE BARGARI CLOSURE REPORT COPY

August 20, 2019 10:18 PM

Mohali / Chandigarh (Subhash Jindal)

  In pursuance of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s directive to challenge the closure report in the Bargari case, the Punjab Government on Tuesday filed a revision petition in the CBI special court at Mohali challenging its July 23 orders disallowing the state’s request for a copy of the closure report filed by the agency.

In response to the petition, the Additional Sessions Judge cum Judge, Special Court, CBI, has issued a notice to the CBI to appear before him on August 29 in the matter, Advocate General Atul Nanda disclosed. 

The Special Judicial Magistrate CBI had, on July 23, 2019, passed an order dismissing the state of Punjab’s application for supply of copy of Closure Report in RC 13 (S)/2015/SC-III/ND, dated 13.11.2015; RC 14 (S)/2015/SC-III/ND, dated 13.11.2015 and RC 15 (S)/2015/SC-III/ND, dated 13.11.2015. 

The state is entitled to the copy of the closure report and other relevant documents in order to challenge the CBI’s decision, said the AG. In its revision petition, filed today by the Government of Punjab, through Assistant Inspector General of Police (Crime), Bureau of Investigation, Punjab, Chandigarh, the state has asked the court to summon the record of the case (CIS NO. CLO/03/2019) pending before the Special Judicial Magistrate CBI, SAS Nagar, Mohali, besides a direction that a copy of the closure report and all supporting material be supplied to the State of Punjab. 

It is the state’s contention that its application for the closure report copy was dismissed by the Special Judicial Magistrate in an arbitrary and unjust manner, Nanda said. He cited the revision petition to point out that the copy of the said Closure Report was not supplied to the State Government or Police, nor was any intimation given to the State Government or Police about the grounds on which the CBI had requested the Court to close the abovesaid cases. 

The state is entitled to the copy of the closure report and other relevant documents in order to challenge the CBI’s decision, said the AG. 

In its revision petition, filed today by the Government of Punjab, through Assistant Inspector General of Police (Crime), Bureau of Investigation, Punjab, Chandigarh, the state has asked the court to summon the record of the case (CIS NO. CLO/03/2019) pending before the Special Judicial Magistrate CBI, SAS Nagar, Mohali, besides a direction that a copy of the closure report and all supporting material be supplied to the State of Punjab. 

The state government has also sought a stay on further proceedings in CIS NO.CLO/03/2019, till the disposal of this Revision Petition, and has prayed that the CBI court should pass such further orders as may be deemed fit in the interest of justice. 

According to the revision petition, the impugned order dated 23.7.2019 passed by the Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, Punjab, Mohali, dismissing the application, for supply of copy of Closure Report, moved by the State of Punjab is “unjust, unreasonable and bad in law and is therefore, liable to be set aside,” on various grounds. 

The grounds listed are that the order was based on the erroneous premise that the State of Punjab is a “stranger to the case”, which is a conceptual error since the State can never be a “stranger” to a criminal case. Further, it says the Special Judicial Magistrate failed to appreciate that the practice of supplying copies of the closure report and documents to the complainant and enabling him to file objections is based not on any statutory provision but on the principles of natural justice, as explained by the Supreme Court in Bhagwant Singh v Commissioner of Police, (1985) 2 SCC 537. 

The Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, Punjab, Mohali has failed to appreciate the fact that the offences of sacrilege of Holy Sri Guru Granth Sahib had been committed in the territorial jurisdiction of State of Punjab, the revision petition further argues. 

Pointing out that for about three years, since the cases were handed over to it, the CBI gave no information about progress into the investigations conducted byit, the revision petition states that “The matter is highly emotive and had in the past led to widespread anger, resentment and law and order problems in the State of Punjab.” 

“Eventually, a resolution was passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on 28.8.2018 to take back the investigations of the abovesaid cases of sacrilege from the CBI” and in pursurance of the same, a notification was issued by the state government on 6.9.2018 to withdraw its consent given to all members of DSPE for investigation of cases of sacrilege i.e. FIR No. 128/12.10.2015, FIR No. 117/25.9.2015, FIR No. 63/2.6.2015, all PS Bajakhana from the Central Bureau of Investigation, and de-notify earlier Notification No. 7/521/13-2H4/619055/1, dated 2.11.2015 issued by the then State Government. 

The withdrawal of consent by the State Government was challenged before the Punjab & Haryana High Court in CWP No. 23285 of 2018 and connected writ petitions. Vide its detailed judgement dated 25.01.2019, the High Court dismissed all the writ petitions and upheld the withdrawal of consent, stating that “None of the learned counsel referred to any judgment in order to show that there was any fetter on power of State Govt. to withdraw consent in such cases where investigation was transferred from State police to CBI. Besides, due to withdrawal of consent, investigation would continue with one investigation agency and not partially with two separate agencies. The chain of events shows that same are inextricably linked, thus this court does not feel the necessity to interfere in the decision of the State Govt. to withdraw investigation from CBI or to set-aside consequent notifications.” 

In fact, the High Court also commented on the lack of progress in the case under the CBI. It is specifically observed by the High Court that “On a specific query being put to CBI counsel about the status of investigations despite lapse of almost three years, no clear answer was forthcoming.” This shows that the CBI has not investigated the abovesaid cases seriously, as per the revision petition, which further notes that CBI as well as Union of India were parties before the High Court and were bound by its judgement. No appeal had been filed against the judgement, which has become final, the AG pointed out, citing the revision petition. 

In view of the above, the CBI w.e.f. 06.09.2018 had no authority to carry out any investigation or take any step in the instant cases. It was rather incumbent on them to immediate inform the Ld. Magistrate of the aforesaid position. Instead of doing so, they appear to have filed a totally unauthorised and illegal closure report in a blatantly hurried manner jointly in all three cases on 29.06.2019 in the Court of Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI, SAS Nagar, Mohali.

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