The Supreme Court on Friday said it was shocked to see the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which granted protection from arrest to Sumedh Singh Saini, former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) in pending cases against him and cases which might be registered in the future.
D.S. Patwalia, Advocate General for Punjab, submitted before the top court that there was a blanket stay and protection against everything. A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli said: “It is shocking and the three of us feel that it is unprecedented. This will require hearing…”
The bench said how could the high court grant stay on future cases which have not even been registered and added, “This is an unprecedented order”.
The top court made this strong observation, after it was informed that the high court has granted blanket protection to the former Punjab DGP. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said he is appearing on a caveat and this officer was a DGP of Punjab. He added, “I have got protection from this court on mala fide attempts by the state.”
The bench said, “Whatever it may be, you can’t pass an order saying in future cases also he can’t be arrested? What is this.” Patwalia added that this order has been extended. After hearing arguments, the bench said it will ask the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court to take up the matter himself or appoint any other judge, and dispose of the matter within two weeks.
The bench observed that the matter should not be taken up by the same judge, who passed the interim order.
The top court clarified the special leave petition filed by the Punjab government challenging the high court order will remain pending.
The single judge of the high court had ordered that Saini should not be arrested till April 20 in various cases pending against him except one — the murder of Balwant Singh Multani, which is pending in the top court.