April 2012, Chandigarh, Panjab: 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
Panjab 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
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 publically 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 Panjab” 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 Panjab, titled ‘Smoldering Embers’.
See volume 1 at
And volume 2 at
In the petition, VFF stated that when
Sumedh Saini was appointed as the DGP of Panjab 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. A serious
criminal trial pending be a fit and proper person to head the police force
of Panjab? 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.