Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Manjari Nehru Kaul, J., had directed constituted a committee to find a way forward to put an end to the piquant situation regarding the farmer’s agitation across the country against the farm laws which had led to illegal blockade created by the protestors outside the Factory the Petitioner. Quoting Abraham Lincoln, the Bench reminded the State to work with the spirit of “malice towards none with charity for all.”

The petitioner company-Adani Wilmar Ltd., having its processing unit at Village Waan, Ferozepur, Punjab, had approached the Court for restraining the respondents from creating illegal blockade outside the Factory premises owned by the petitioner. The company conteded that the said blockade had resulted in the complete stoppage of operations of factory, any movement of goods as well as workers/employees to and from the said factory premises, which was a rice processing unit, in which, about 8752.68 MT of rice was lying stored, and being a perishable item and an essential commodity, was at the risk of being spoiled/rendered useless, if not immediately taken out of the Factory premises and utilized.

The petitioner submitted that since the beginning of the blockade, a total quantity of 26.35 MT of Rice stuck inside the said Factory, had already perished on account of it not being allowed to be taken out of the said Factory and quantity of 117.73 MT of rice was on the verge of being expired/rendered unfit for human consumption, and further, the aforesaid Rice was lying unsupervised and unprotected, as the workers/employees working in the Factory were not being allowed by the protesters to enter the Factory.

Accordingly, the petitioner requested the Court to issue a writ in the nature of Mandamus directing the respondents to remove illegal blockade created by the protestors outside the warehouse and to deploy adequate resources outside the sites in question in order to ensure free and safe ingress and egress of the goods of the Petitioner and also the safe movement of the workers/employees and ensure resuming operations which are currently closed due to the said blockade. The request was also made to direct the respondents to constitute a competent Authority in terms of Section 7 of the Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Act, 2014 to investigate any damage caused to the goods of the Petitioner or to the said Factory and Depot, in which, the said goods were stored. Additionally, relying on the decision of the Supreme Court in Destruction of Public and Private Properties: In re, (2009) 5 SCC 212, the petitioner urged the Court to direct the respondent to set up a machinery to investigate the damage caused and to award compensation related thereto in relation to any possible damage that might have been caused to the petitioner’s goods.

Considering the situation to be the extraordinary situation, to reconcile the competing rights and interests of all the stakeholders, the Bench directed the State authorities/respondents to ensure free movement of food grains etc., was not hindered from and to its facility and to ensure that while the Constitutional Rights of the petitioner-firm were not defeated, the situation on the ground did not go out of hand.

Noticing that the State authorities were conscious of the fact that any further delay would result in damaging the food-grains, which were lying stored in the facility of the petitioner firm, the Bench proceeded to constitute a Committee headed by Principal Secretary Home, Government of Punjab, including Additional Director General of Police, Law & Order Punjab,
Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepur, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ferozepur amongst other officers to find a way forward to put an end to the piquant situation expeditiously and to prevent further loss/wastage of about eight thousand metric tonnes of food-grains lying stored in the facility of the petitioner’s firm, which a country like India can ill afford.[Adani Wilmar Ltd. v. State of Punjab, CWP-5645 of 2021, decided on 18-06-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court by:

For the Petitioner: Adv. Ashish Prasad, Adv. Rohit Sharma, Adv. Asheesh Gupta, Adv.Ishan, Adv. Rohit Chandel, Adv.Abhinav Sood, Adv. Pruthi Dhinoja, Adv. Jubin Mehta

For the Respondents: Sr. DAG Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala and Adv. Saigeeta Srivastva

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case relating to Punjab Civil Services (Judicial) appointments*, where only 28 people have been recruited against a total of 75 posts, the bench of SK Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has directed that as a sample, the papers in the two subjects i.e. Criminal Law and Punjabi, of the first 10 candidates, who did not clear the examination, be sent for re-checking.

The Court further directed that since the problem relates to these two subjects, the papers of the first 10 candidates who failed to obtain the minimum marks in those subjects, also be sent for re-checking. There may, however, be overlapping in this scenario.

It said,

“We propose to pass an order to satisfy our judicial conscious in the given scenario where only 28 people have been recruited in pursuance to an examination process where 75 vacancies existed.”

The Criminal Law papers be sent to Justice A.K. Sikri, former Supreme Court judge and Punjabi papers to Justice Surinder Singh Saron, former Acting Chief Justice, Punjab & Haryana High Court. The papers are to be sent within 2 weeks.

The Court said that the aforesaid process and the marks that will be assigned will give an impression of the broad trend whether the overall marking has been strict beyond expected levels or the assessment is fine and whether there is a requirement of re-marking of all papers once again in these two subjects excluding of course those people who already stand recruited. The Court will also consider whether in such a scenario any other appropriate action like grant of grace marks could meet the ends of justice.

The Court asked the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take necessary steps to send the requisite papers and compute the result and submit it to the Court along with previous marks.

The matter has been listed for further directions on 17.12.2020.

[Navneet Kaur Dhaliwal v. The Registrar General of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 902, order dated 03.11.2020]

*Ed. Note: The order does not specify the name of the examination but merely mentions “an examination process”. The inference that the matter deals with the Punjab Civil Services (Judicial) appointments has been drawn from the information available in the order.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Harnaresh Singh Gill, J., rejected the bail application filed by the applicant-accused in connection with the FIR registered for offence punishable under Sections 22 and 25 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS).

The facts, in brevity, are that the intoxicant tablets were recovered from the car in which the applicant was sitting which led to the filing of the above stated FIR.

Counsel for the applicant, Manpreet Ghuman has contended that the recovery has been effectuated in the present case and the applicant has been languishing in police custody for the past seventeen months. Also, the challan has been presented along with the filing of the charges hence the purpose to keep the applicant behind bars has turned redundant.

Counsel for the respondent, M.S. Nagra vehemently objected to the bail application stating that the intoxicant tablets that were recovered in the present matter were of commercial quantity hence, it is not fit that the applicant be granted bail.

Upon careful perusal of the facts, circumstances and arguments advanced the Court observed that an accused does not get entitled to bail merely because of the fact that a challan has been presented or charges have been framed. It’s an inadequate ground especially in the present case where the amount of intoxicant tablets recovered from the applicant falls under the category of commercial quantity. Section 37 of the NDPS Act has specifically barred the grant of bail to an accused in case of a commercial quantity being involved.

In view of the above, Court rejected and dismissed the application for lack of merit. [Prem Singh v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 1341, decided on 26-08-2020]