CHANDIGARH, Punjab—Voices For Freedom (VFF) filed a public interest litigation (PIL)yesterday asking the Punjab and Haryana High Court for directions to quash the appointment of Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Saini on grounds that his appointment was unlawful. The High Court has adjourned the hearing to April 17th for VFF to show that it has the locus standi to take up this issue.
“VFF filed a petition seeking a writ of certiorari to quash Sumedh Saini’s appointment and we have also sought a writ of mandamus directing an enquiry against the concerned persons who have withheld material records about the DGP,” said Director for Voices For Freedom (Asia), High Court advocate, Simranjit Singh, who filed the petition.
VFF argued in its petition that Sumedh Saini’s appointment is in clear violation of the directives of the Supreme Court of India which were issued in two cases: Narain and Ors. vs. Union of India and Prakash Singh vs Union of India. The petition also argued that Sumedh Saini’s appointment also violates the spirit of the Punjab Police Act 2007 under section 6(2)(a).
“We said in our petition that Sumedh Saini’s appointment had been publicly criticised by various human rights organizations and media, to no avail. VFF filed the petition because it was in the public interest to do so and this issue was in connection with our work against human rights violations, in Punjab” said the General Legal Counsel for Voices For Freedom, Gurvinder Singh Sidhu.
VFF has published a two volume report on about 900 disappearances cases in Punjab, titled ‘Smoldering Embers’. See volume 1 at http://www.amazon.com/
And volume 2 at http://www.amazon.com/
In the petition, VFF stated that when Sumedh Saini was appointed as the DGP of Punjab on 14 March 2012, he was facing a criminal trial for serious offences before the Special CBI Court in New Delhi, including the abduction and death of three persons in 1994, in which the trial is still pending.
“We asked in our petition, how could someone who has a serious criminal trial pending be a fit and proper person to head the police force of Punjab? Further, would his trial not affect the institutional competence of his duty as a DGP?” Gurvinder Singh said.
VFF also cited a recent case decided on 30th March 2012 whereby the High Court of Karnataka set aside the Karnataka DGP’s appointment because reports on atrocities against women and tribal people by the Special Task Force (which he headed) was deliberately suppressed from the selection authorities.