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2015 Kotkapura firing case: Punjab ready with special leave petition against HC’s decision on SIT, can move SC anytime

The government has decided to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court after the intervention of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

THE PUNJAB government is ready with its special leave petition (SLP) to challenge the High Court’s decision to ask the state to reconstitute the SIT and quash its four-year-long investigation into the firing on anti-sacrilege protesters at Kotkapura on October 14, 2015.

The government has decided to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court after the intervention of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Advocate General Atul Nanda and Home Secretary Anurag Agarwal had locked horns over the issue and the file was moving from one office to the other. The government has already taken three months to take a final decision on filing the SLP.

The SLP, drafted by the AG’s office, was approved by the home department after the CM had asked Nanda to take charge, file the SLP and engage lawyers.

Sources said that after initial reluctance, the government will now file the SLP on the plea that the HC had exceeded its jurisdiction and quashed the investigation even as trial had just begun in the trial court. Moreover, the government has taken a plea that the quashing orders had come on the petition filed by an Inspector Gurdeep Singh, who had sought relief for himself in HC in the case.

Sources said that as the HC order was passed on April 9, the government can file the SLP in the apex court anytime. An appeal has to be filed within three months of the judgment. The government will be taking a plea that it had got the order copy on April 22, and hence it should be allowed to file it within three months time, starting from that date.

It remains to be seen whether the SLP is admitted in the apex court, as the HC had passed the orders after asking the government to choose from three options. The HC had gone ahead with the option accepted by the state DGP.

While the home secretary wanted the SLP filed, the AG, it is learnt, was of the opinion that if the state police chief had himself chosen the option of reconstituting the SIT, this would come in the way of the SLP getting admitted in court.

The HC had given three options to the state — passing on the case to CBI for investigation, hand over the investigation to Haryana Police or hand over the investigation to a reconstituted SIT that did not have Kunwar Vijay Partap in it.

The DGP chose the third option and the HC quashed the investigations and directed the state to reconstitute the SIT. Nanda had opined that the AG was the advocate in the case and the DGP was the client. Challenging the HC order will also amount to challenging the portion of the judgment that was delivered after giving the DGP the three options.

Filing of SLP is politically very significant for the incumbent government as after the HC’s decision, the chief minister faced a revolt from his colleagues on the plea that the government was not able to defend itself in court and had suffered a setback. The revolt resulted in a crisis in the party and the high command had to intervene and give an audience to party leaders from the state.

Kunwar Vijay Partap later resigned from Punjab Police and joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), causing further embarrassment to the party.

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