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Tirathram Saini Vs. State of Punjab [1994] INSC 97 (8 February 1994)

Venkatachalliah, M.N.(Cj) Venkatachalliah, M.N.(Cj) Mohan, S. (J)

CITATION: 1994 SCC Supl. (2) 16 JT 1994 (1) 420 1994 SCALE (1)443




1.This writ petition is under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The petitioner is a maternal uncle of one Rajinder Saini. The said Rajinder Saini is a political leader of Congress (1). It is stated in the petition that Rajinder Saini became an eyesore to the present Chief Minister of Punjab. As a result, political rivalry arose.

2.Rajinder Saini was invited to a dinner by the third respondent, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ludhiana Range, Ludhiana. At that time he was assaulted. Thereafter he was asked to disappear from the scene as soon as possible. Since then the police has been after Rajinder Saini. In order to coerce the surrender of Rajinder Saini, Daljit Saini alias Mecca and Om Prakash brother-in-law of Rajinder Saini were abducted from Railway Station, Pathankot on August 9, 1993. Concerning this incident telegrams were sent to the President of India, Chief Justice of India, Chief Justices of the High Courts of Delhi at New Delhi and Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh. But they were of no avail.

The sister of the petitioner also sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Punjab but it bore no fruit. Rajinder Saini moved the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi for anticipatory bail in one of the cases in which he had been implicated as per disclosure of the offenders under arrest vide FIR No. 311, Police Station Kalkaji, under Sections 392, 397, 284 read with Section 34 Indian Penal Code in Delhi. He is on interim bail granted in Criminal Misc. (M) No. 2190 of 1993.

It is under these circumstances, the writ petition for habeas corpus has been preferred to direct the respondent to produce Daljeet Saini, son of the petitioner and Om Parkash, brother-in-law of the petitioner. On October 4, 1993 this Court passed inter alia an order which is extracted below:

"On September 22, 1993 upon motion the petition was taken on board and notices were issued to the respondents. Today when the matter was called one of the persons viz., Daljit Saini appeared before us. He submitted that both the persons so detained had been released on October 2, 1993 at Pathankot. The statement of Daljit Saini was recorded. He is said to be a student of 10th standard and was allegedly taken into custody on August 9, 1993 and kept in illegal detention till October 2, 1993. In his statement before us he submitted that he was beaten and tortured during his detention and complains of some degree of incapacitation of his limbs and stated that he could not walk and stand steadily. It is, therefore, necessary to have Daljit Saini examined and medically treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

We direct the Medical Superintendent, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, to medically examine Daljit Saini and afford him the requisite treatment as may be necessary. A report in this behalf shall be submitted to this Court within a week from today." 3.In the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of Respondents 1 and 2, the allegations in the petition are stoutly denied.

It proceeded to state that Rajinder Saini had planned to eliminate the Chief Minister of Punjab. If the Chief Minister could not be eliminated then the son of Mr Jatinder Prasad, Political Secretary of the Prime Minister was to be abducted and he would get them released by intervening and effecting a bargain. The two persons, namely Bhupinder Singh alias Bhinda and Surjit Singh alias Kala who were hired by Rajinder Saini committed robbery in the office of Chhedi Lal and robbed him of cash amounting to Rs 3 lakhs and his wrist-watch. Rajinder Saini was also an 18 accomplice. It was under these circumstances the case came to be registered under FIR No. 311 dated July 31, 1993.

4.One Dr Jagdev Singh informed the police about the conspiracy hatched by Rajinder Saini and his accomplice to eliminate the Chief Minister. On the basis of that information FIR No. 29 dated August 27, 1993 was registered at Police Station No. 6, Ludhiana.

5.Rajinder Saini was arrested by Punjab Police on September 16, 1993. The arrestwas made under FIR No. 158 dated August 27, 1993 registered at Police Station Division No. 6, Ludhiana. During the course of interrogation of Rajinder Saini in the above said case under Sections 27/25 of the Arms Act, Sections 302/120-B, Indian Penal Code and Section 5 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act registered at the above said police station, he confessed his guilt regarding his involvement in various nefarious activities. The confession was recorded by the deponent on September 26, 1993. A video tape of the recording of the confession was also made. The original statement and the video tape have been sent to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ludhiana for forwarding the same to the designated court. English translation of the confession made by Rajinder Saini was attached as Annexure R-7. The said confessional statement clearly shows the involvement of Rajinder Saini and his accomplices Bhupinder Singh alias Bhinda and Surjit Singh alias Kala in the nefarious activities clandestinely carried out by them.

Besides, the said confessional statement also shows that Rajinder Saini accused had sent one person namely Kultar Singh alias Kaka resident of Village Jawaddi, District Ludhiana to Hong Kong. It was through this Kultar Singh alias Kaka that two pistols were arranged for the accused Rajinder Saini. The above narration of facts clearly show that Rajinder Saini and his accomplices had been indulging in nefarious activities and the present petition has been filed solely for the purpose of pressurising the police from not pursuing the case registered against them and has been filed at their behest.

6.The counter-affidavit further proceeds that neither Daljit Saini nor Om Prakash had been arrested. The entire story about the alleged detenus has been cooked up by the petitioner with a view to malign the police. If really they were arrested on August 9, 1993, as to why the petitioner had kept quiet all these days is not explained.

7.The telegram sent to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court was registered as Criminal Writ Petition No. 449 of 1993. On a reply filed by the police the writ petition was dismissed on September 23, 1993. This material fact has been suppressed from this Court. A separate affidavit on behalf of Om Prakash has been filed to state that they were picked up by the police on August 9, 1993 and remained there up to October 2, 1993. It was pursuant to the direction of this Court he was released. Daljit Saini would reiterate the detention and confirm that he was arrested on August 9, 1993. He and Om Prakash were beaten up in the night at around 11.30 to 12.08 o'clock. They were taken from Pathankot to Ludhiana. They were kept in a cell kind of a room with a door having iron bars. There were four other persons already locked up. Their names were Jamail Singh Bhati, Kewal Singh (sic) and Surender. Two or three days later the four persons were shifted and sent to Nabha Jail. The mother of Daljit Saini and the wife of the writ petitioner also would swear that her son was not relieved even after the arrest of Rajinder Saini.

19 8.Mr R.K. Jain, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner would submit that it is incorrect on the part of the State to urge that neither Daljit Saini nor Om Prakash was ever arrested or detained. If it were not true Daljit Saini could not have given the graphic details as to the detention. The truth of the matter in relation to the detention requires to be ascertained. Therefore, an inquiry by judicial officer may be directed by this Court.

9.Mr G.K. Chatrath, learned Advocate-General of Punjab asserts that neither Daljit Saini nor Om Prakash was ever arrested or detained. This is nothing but a pressure tactics adopted by Rajinder Saini who is facing trial in many criminal cases. However, he has no objection for an inquiry by any judicial officer.

10.In view of the above, it becomes necessary to ascertain the truth relating to the detention of Daljit Saini and Om Prakash. For this purpose, we hereby direct the learned District Judge, Ludhiana to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made in the affidavit and the counter-affidavit and submit a report as to the veracity of the statements made by either of the parties, particularly in relation to detention of two persons. The report shall be submitted within four weeks from the date of the receipt of this order.

11. List the writ petition after the receipt of the report.


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