SC bins Punjab’s appeal against HC order quashing FIR against SAD chief Sukhbir Badal

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by the Punjab government challenging a Punjab and Haryana High Court order quashing an FIR registered against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal in 2021, observing it was a “fake case”.

The FIR against Badal was registered under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and for disobedience to an order by a public servant, causing obstruction, criminal intimidation and unlawful activities over allegations that he obstructed the mining operations of a private company in Beas town of Amritsar district.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan wondered why the complainant in the case did not approach the apex court and only the state government appealed the high court order quashing the FIR.

Observing it was “undoubtedly a fake case”, the bench told the Punjab government counsel “just because a person, who is a political leader, went there to inspect the spot or something else, he was booked. None of the elements of the offences alleged are made out.”

When the counsel contended that the high court wrongly quashed the FIR, the bench said the HC went through the document and found none of the offences are made out.

“Interestingly, the complainant is a mining company and it has not appealed against the high court order. Only the state government has challenged it. Why?” Justice Oka said.

“No case for interference with the high court order is made out. The Special Leave Petition is dismissed,” the apex court said.

On August 4, 2023, the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed the FIR lodged against Badal, a former deputy chief minister of the state, on July 1, 2021 at Beas police station.

The prosecution claimed Badal threatened the employees of the mining company and obstructed its legal operations at the desilting site in the riverfront town. COVID-19 restrictions were also in place at that time, it said.

The high court, while quashing the FIR, said the offences Badal has been accused of don’t make a case to prosecute him.

It noted Badal’s claim that he had visited the spot to check the ground reality about the allegations of illegal mining in an environmentally susceptible riverbed area.

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