New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing a criminal case lodged against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for allegedly obstructing mining operations in Amritsar’s Wazir Bhullar and not wearing a mask.
A bench of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan dismissed the special leave petition filed by the Punjab government challenging the High Court order passed in August 2023, questioning the state government’s counsel for filing an appeal when the case was lodged at the instance of a private mining company.
It said that no offence registered under FIR was made out against Badal.
In the special leave petition filed before the apex court, the Punjab Police contended that the allegations levelled against Badal required trial but the High Court itself conducted a mini-trial while hearing the application filed by Badal under 482 CrPC.
Quashing the FIR and all subsequent proceedings, the High Court had said that continuation of criminal proceedings against the political leader will amount to an “abuse of the process of law”.
It had said no offence of disobedience to orders duly promulgated by public servants was made against Badal and there was no occasion for him to cause their wrongful restraint of the workers of the complainant firm.
“It remains undisputed that the place where the petitioner had gone on hearing the complaints of illegal mining was a riverbed, which was not at all habited, and the workers had fled away on noticing the presence of the petitioner. Thus, there was no occasion at any time for the employees of the complainant to have any infection, even if the petitioner is hypothetically taken as infected with Covid-19,” said a bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara in its order.
In the 2021 FIR, the complainant, M/s Friends and Company, alleged that Badal and other accused had threatened its staff and employees, and obstructed and interfered in their legal mining operations. After the conclusion of the investigation, the state launched prosecution against 13 persons, including Badal, out of the alleged crowd of around 300 persons.