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Punjab and Haryana High Court grants bail to Sukhbir, Majithia in case filed by Justice Ranjit Singh

The complaint was filed against Badal and Majithia for allegedly making defamatory statements against the retired judge in connection with the report filed by the Commission which investigated various incidents of desecration in Punjab.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday granted bail to the Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal and the senior party leader Bikram Singh Majithia in the case filed against them by Justice (retired) Ranjit Singh under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. However, they will have to remain present in the court on next date of hearing, August 21.

Badal and Majithia, who had been summoned by the court and were present in the courtroom in pursuance of the order, were directed to pay personal bonds of Rs 1 lakh each by the court. The senior counsels representing them during the hearing questioned the maintainability of the complaint.

Ranjit Singh in February had filed the case under Section 10A (acts calculated to bring Commission or any member into disrepute) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act – invoking the original jurisdiction of the High Court under the Act. The complaint was filed against Badal and Majithia for allegedly making defamatory statements against the retired judge in connection with the report of the Commission set up by Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government to investigate various incidents of desecration in Punjab.

The Commissions of Inquiry Act states, “A High Court taking cognizance of an offence under sub-section (1) shall try the case in accordance with the procedure for the trial of warrant cases instituted otherwise than on a police report before a court of a Magistrate”.

Section 10A provides for a simple imprisonment of six months or fine or both.

On August 23 last year, Badal held a press conference in Amritsar insinuating that Ranjit Singh had no legal qualification and also alleged that Singh had fabricated the documents including witness statements in preparation of the Commission report.

On August 27, the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, including Majithia, rejected the report in a demonstration held outside the Assembly and staged the report’s mock sale while shouting it was available at Rs 5 in the market. The two incidents have been cited as evidence in the complaint.

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