According to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the investigating agencies of Punjab and Haryana have failed to take FIRs against MPs and MLAs to their logical conclusions.
The Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Vikram Aggarwal asserted in a scathing order how investigating and prosecuting agencies function: “Strangely enough, when a public servant is being prosecuted, months have elapsed before such approval/sanction has been issued.”
A virtual admonition was also given to the Punjab DGP for accepting the reasons for not proceeding with the investigation as “just and reasonable”. According to the Bench, the documents appended along with the DGP’s affidavit provided a “very grim picture” regarding the competence of the investigators. It appears that they are not familiar with the law, and that they are not properly trained. The reasons cited seem strange enough,” it said. When the case was heard earlier, a glimmer of light was seen in the dark horizon, according to the Bench. Nevertheless, “whatever light we had seen is gone”. There was no real progress reflected in the affidavits filed before the court. Counsel representing the respondents provided merely words of assurance. A mistaken belief led the court to accept the same at face value. However, the “action now taken did not reflect the intent and purpose for which assurances were sought”.
According to the Bench, the observations cannot be elaborated and substantiated based on the figures in the affidavits. For not adversely affecting the morale of the investigating agency, oral observations were not put in writing during the hearing.
During the next hearing, the Bench asked the DGP, Punjab, to explain why the investigation process in the FIRs registered against MPs/MLAs is not being completed.
According to the Bench, Haryana’s reasons “really show time is being wasted for one reason or another”. As far as the investigation was concerned, it seemed that the investigating agencies and even officers up to the DGP level took it for granted that an affidavit would be filed to fill in any gaps without actually progressing the case.
The Haryana government filed documents stating that an FIR dated October 18, 2005, was filed against former chief minister Om Parkash Chautala, and then Haryana Public Service Commission chairman KC Bangar regarding irregularities in the recruitment of lecturers in 2001, alleging cheating and other offenses under the IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.
A letter dated August 29, 2022, was sent to the State requesting permission to prosecute 31 accused, including now-MLA Pardeep Chaudhary. According to the Bench, the FIR was registered on October 18, 2005, and the investigation was concluded in 2022. The statement said that the Haryana DGP should appear in court to explain the inaction of the investigating and prosecuting agencies.