The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings in Hoshiarpur Court of Punjab in the alleged forgery and cheating case filed against Sukhbir Singh Badal, Parkash Singh Badal and Daljit Singh Cheema in a controversy over the dual constitution of Shiromani Akali Dal ( SDS).
A bench consisting of Judge S Abdul Nazeer and Judge V Ramasubramanian issued an opinion and stayed the proceedings in the criminal complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hoshiarpur, while hearing motions challenging the dismissal of motions to quash against the criminal case.
In 2009, Hoshiarpur resident Balwant Singh Khera filed a criminal complaint before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate accusing SAD of submitting two different constitutions, namely one with Gurdwara Electoral Commission (GEC) and the second with the Election Commission of India (ECI) to seek recognition as a political party.
The complainant alleged that the party claimed to be a secular party and made a statement of respect for the principles of secularism in its constitution filed with the ECI while contesting the elections of a religious body, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee , thus being a religious party.
Badals’ lawyers argued in court that being religious is not against principles of secularism and that the mere fact that a political group stands for election to a Gurdwara committee does not mean that it is not secular. The criminal case therefore has no merit, argued the lawyers.
The SAD issued a press release regarding Tuesday’s development. While Senior Counsel RS Cheema appeared for Sukhbir Singh Badal, Senior Counsel KV Vishwanathan appeared for Prakash Singh Badal. Barrister Sandeep Kapur appeared for Daljit Singh Cheema and Barrister Indira Unninayar appeared for plaintiff Balwant Singh Khera, SAD said. The petitions were filed by Karanjawala & Co.
Lawyer Unninayar asked the court to allow her to make brief submissions. However, the court indicated she could file her response and would be heard at a later date, the SAD statement said.
SAD had filed a petition with the Hoshiarpur court in Punjab challenging the court’s jurisdiction to take up an alleged forgery case filed against the political group for having a dual constitution, but the court then dismissed the party’s claim.