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It may appear to be unbelievable; however, it is true on the basis of information received by RTI Activists-cum-Advocate, H.C. Arora from office of Inspector General of Police, Punjab, Chandigarh vide letter dated 22 November last. In response to an application filed by Arora, seeking the list of PPS officers who are working as Superintendent of Police in various Districts, Arora received a list of 91 such PPS officers. However, there was enclosed with the said list, an annexure containing information regarding one PPS officer, Jaspal Singh. It was stated in the said annexure that Jaspal Singh was convicted on 11 December 2001 u/s 304-part II/34/201, 365/34, 342/34 IPC along with the four other police officers. The Addl. Session Judge, Patiala, vide his order on sentence did not accept the request of Jaspal Singh and other convicts for lenient punishment. The Judge observed that Jaspal Singh and Gurdev Singh had resorted to abduction of Amrik Singh and then kept him in illegal confinement and tortured his to such an extent that he died. Other convict Baljinder Singh facilitated the falsification of records while another convict Balbir Singh also helped the attempt to frame a false case coined by convict Baljinder Singh and Baldev Singh to make out a false story of committing of suicide by Amrik Singh. The Judge therefore sentenced Jaspal Singh to 6 months imprisonment. Jaspal Singh filed an appeal in High Court of Punjab and Haryana against the judgment of 11 December 2001 and his sentence was suspended and he was granted bail on 31 May 2002. The said appeal is still pending in the High Court. However, the Governor of Punjab vide order dated 04 October 2005 granted pardon to Jaspal Singh in exercise of the powers conferred under Article 161 of the Constitution of India. It is pertinent to note that Jaspal Singh remained in Jail from 11 December 2001 to 02 June 2002. Consequent upon pardon granted by Governor, the Principal Secretary to Government of Punjab Department of Home Affairs and Justice vide order dated 27 November 2008 recommended to the Governor Punjab that period from 11 December 2001 to 02 June 2002 during which Jaspal Singh remained in Jail, be regularized as duty period and he be promoted as DSP on regular basis. Eventually, the Governor, Punjab converted notional promotion of Jaspal Singh to the regular promotion as DSP w.e.f. 15 February 2001 (instead of adhoc promotion w.e.f. 10 December 2001) i.e., the date from which Inspector Ram Millan, Junior to him, was promoted. It was, however, ordered that Jaspal Singh shall not be paid arrears of the pay and allowances for the period from 11 December 2001 to 02 June 2002.

The order dated 04 October 2005 issued on behalf of Governor, Punjab states that “After solemn consideration of the relevant material and after taking into reckoning the peculiar and exceptional features of the case, it has been considered to grant pardon to the petitioner.” The order further reads “That the jail authority and the petitioner be informed that the Governor has been pleased to grant pardon to the said convict Jaspal Singh in exercise of power conferred under Article 161 of the Constitution of India.”

A recent case of attempt on the part of Punjab Government to seek pardon for Bhupinder Singh Khatra, DSP, who was convicted for forgery and fabrication of records presented to the Court and sentenced to imprisonment for 2 years, shows that Government of Punjab takes exceptional interest in seeking pardon for the police officers convicted by the Court of Law.

However, Bhupinder Singh Khatra was somewhat unlucky, in as much as the proposal sent by the Punjab Government to the Governor for seeking pardon for him came to the notice of petitioner H.C. Arora, who brought it to the notice of Division Bench comprising M.M. Kumar and Justice R.N. Raina about the said proposal regarding which a mention was made in the affidavit filed on behalf of State Government in the PIL filed by Arora seeking quashing of DGP Punjab’s circular directing for lenient treatment to all those convicted police officers who were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for less than 3 years. The Division Bench took a very serious notice of the matter and directed the State Government to take immediate action against Khatra within one week in accordance with law while observing that it was surprising that even after conviction, Khatra was wearing police uniform. It is still a different story for unluckily Khatra that during latest hearing of Contempt Petition filed by Arora, Punjab Government informed the Court that a proposal for seeking advice of PPSC for taking action against him has been moved and that Khatra has also been placed under suspension alongwith that of 3 other DSPs convicted for various offences, including under the Prevention of Corruption Act. - H.C. ARORA Petitioner-cum RTI applicant.

Created On: December 20, 2011 @ 6:26 AM by Website Administrator

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