Delhi High Court orders day-to-day trial in Haryana judicial paper leak case

The Delhi High Court has asked a trial court here to expedite the proceedings in a case relating to the alleged leak of the 2017 Haryana Civil Services (Judicial) preliminary examination paper and take it up on a day-to-day basis.

The high court said it was a serious matter and also asked the parties to cooperate for an expeditious trial before the lower court. The Delhi High Court recently refused to quash charges framed against a former Punjab and Haryana High Court official in the case.

“The matter was transferred from Chandigarh to Delhi by virtue of the orders of the apex court. The trial court is expected to expedite the matter and take the same on a day-to-day basis,” Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma said.

“The trial court is directed to dispose of the matter positively on or before April 15, 2024, and send the compliance report to this court,” he said.

Additional Public Prosecutor Charanjit Singh Bakhshi, representing the Union Territory of Chandigarh, and advocate Amit Sahni apprised the court of a coordinate bench’s August 2022 order to dispose of the matter expeditiously.

The high court was hearing a plea by former registrar (recruitment) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Dr Balwinder Kumar Sharma, who challenged the trial court’s order dismissing his application for summoning of documents for cross-examination of a witness.

An FIR in the matter involving the paper leak was lodged on the complaint of Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2017.

Sharma was suspended by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2017 after the paper leak.

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According to the prosecution, the question paper remained in the custody of Dr Balwinder Kumar Sharma, the then registrar (recruitment) from the time the question paper was finalised till the dispatch to the examination centre.

It was alleged that a co-accused, Sunita, was known to be in acquaintance with Sharma and he had given a copy of the question paper to her who further forwarded it to others for consideration of money.

The high court previously upheld a January 31, 2020, order of a sessions court in Chandigarh by which charges were framed against accused Sharma for the alleged offences of cheating, criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In 2021, the Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi at Sharma’s request.

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