Probe into Member of Parliament, MLA cases not ‘satisfactory’, says Punjab and Haryana HC

New Delhi; A division bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Vikram Aggarwal asked the directors of the investigating agencies, besides the directors general of police of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh, to file affidavits. He was asked to inform about the steps being taken.

Not only to speed up the investigation process and incorporate scientific methods, but also to speed up the trial and to specify the progress made, if any, in ensuring the presence of officers and other prosecution witnesses Instructions were issued. For this purpose, the bench has set a time limit of four weeks.

The direction came after the Punjab Bureau of Investigation told the bench that 102 cases against MPs – current and former – were pending in courts, besides pending investigation in 19 FIRs.

The bench emphasized that the progress being made in the affidavits produced before the court was not as expected and assured by the probe agencies and the counsel representing the states. The intent and purpose for which the monitoring was being conducted by the court was not only “lacking, but missing”.

The bench said that something needs to be done as far as the investigation of the matter is concerned. “After the completion of the investigation, it appears that the prosecution is actually wringing its hands as the focus on the status report is confined only till the completion of the investigation,” the bench said.

It added that non-appearance of witnesses was a major reason for the delay in the trial. Thus, the Directors General of Police and Heads of Departments of the investigating agencies were expected to give equal consideration and importance to the trial as well. Officials and witnesses were bound to attend when called, giving priority to other duties and responsibilities they had to perform.

The bench said that the delay in the trial resulted in loss of public and court’s time. It also at times gave opportunity to the accused to win over the witnesses. This may be a cause for concern as the process of investigation, if carried out in good faith, loses its relevance during the trial of cases. Even the accused had to bear the brunt of the delay as he remained stigmatized till the final order was passed, convicting or acquitting him. The next hearing of the case will now be on January 19.