CHANDIGARH: Former judge Ranjit Singh, who headed a panel probing incidents of sacrilege and police firing in Punjab, has filed a criminal complaint against SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia for making "false, derogatory and defamatory" statements against him.
The petitioner in his complaint to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, claimed that both Badal and Majithia made "derogatory statements against him with an intention to bring him as well as Commission of Inquiry headed by him into disrepute".
"Thus committing offence punishable in terms of Section 10-A of The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952", the petition stated. Under the section 10-A, if anybody was found to be involved in bringing the commission or its member to disrepute with defamatory statements, then this offence can be punishable with six months imprisonment or fine or both.
Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh in his petition quoted several incidents in which he found that Badal and Majithia were making "derogatory statements" against him and the commission.
"It was stated that the chairman of the commission, i.e. the present complainant, was neither a 'Justice' nor a 'Singh'. By saying so, Respondent No 1 (Sukhbir) not only attacked the religious status of the present complainant but also attacked his status as a former judge of this Hon'ble Court", the petition stated.
"In the same breath, Respondent No 1 went on to claim that the present complainant did not even possess a valid degree of law; and indicated that the present complainant had been long operating on the basis of a fake degree of law," said the petition.
The petitioner also referred an incident in which he said that Badal and Majithia, during a public demonstration, described his inquiry report as "waste paper, deserving to be relegated to the trash bin", it said.
"It may be relevant to state that, as part of the said demonstration(s), Respondents No. 1 and 2, placed a pile of paper, purporting it to be the Inquiry Report, on the ground, in the most demeaning manner," the petitioner said.
Notably, the Congress government after coming to power in 2017 had set up the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission to probe sacrilege and police firing incidents, including those that took place during previous SAD-BJP regime in 2015.
The commission's report was tabled in Punjab Assembly last year.