P&H HC | Commission reports are not adjudicatory in nature and have no binding force

Punjab and Haryana High Court: This writ petition was filed before the Bench of Rajan Gupta, J., where he addressed five writ petition together which challenged the recommendations given by Zora Singh Commission Report and Ranjit Singh Commission Report where they had to inquire into the incidents of sacrilege and alleged role played by various person, the role of police officials who were alleged of improper and delayed investigation. Thereby, the petitioner prayed for quashing of the above two report’s recommendation.

There were three incident of alleged sacrilege relating to one sarup (set) of Guru Granth Sahib. Various protests were done which turned into major agitation leading to firing by police, as a consequence of which two people had died and few injured. On all three occasions, FIRs were filed. In aftermath of these incidents, the State Government formed Zora Singh Commission deriving its powers from the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952. Later when elections took place new Government was formed which formed Rajan Singh Commission for an inquiry into the same matter as was inquired by Zora Singh Commission.

Petitioner contended that Section 7 of the Act was not complied according to which, a new commission for an inquiry could not have been created without de-notifying the Commission formed by the previous Government. Advocate General for State referred a case of Abhinandan Jha v. Dinesh Mishra, 1967 (3) SCR 668 and mentioned that the Court could not have interfered with the investigation being carried out or direct it to act in a particular manner.

High Court was of the view that SIT should not be swayed by the observations made by the Commissions. Observations of Commissions are meant only to instruct the mind of Government in order to prevent such incidents in the future. The SIT should conduct a fair, impartial and speedy investigation. It is to be remembered that Commission report are not adjudicatory in nature and have no binding force, is a settled law in light of the above-referred case of Abhinandan Jha. Therefore, this writ petition was dismissed with the aforementioned directions.[Charanjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 66, decided on 25-01-2019]

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