Excessive Courtroom junks plea over Capt’s 2002 election

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 5

The allegation of corrupt practice was in nature of a criminal charge and required to be proven beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled as it dismissed the oldest pending petition against Capt Amarinder Singh’s 18-year-old election from the Patiala Assembly constituency.

The petition placed before Justice Daya Chaudhary’s Bench was filed in 2002 by Harkirat Singh — a voter in the constituency. It was initially dismissed in December 2005, but was remanded back by the Supreme Court on a plea against the High Court verdict.

‘Can publish absconders’ names on Net’

The Punjab and Haryana HC has made it clear there was no harm in publishing the names of absconders on the Internet. Justice Amol Rattan Singh asserted the Punjab Police Rules were promulgated in 1934, when there was no Internet. The only social media available at that time was newspapers and magazines. “The court would see no harm in extending the publishing of the names… on social media as is now available via Internet, etc.,” the HC said.

Justice Chaudhary held the mere presence of a gazetted officer at a press conference did not prove a corrupt practice as envisaged under Section 123(7) of the Representation of Peoples Act.

Justice Chaudhary added the petitioner failed to prove that the press conference organised by former media adviser Bharat Inder Singh Chahal was held for furtherance of Capt Amarinder’s election prospects.

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