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Ggn land scam: HC junks Dhingra commission report

January 11, 2019 06:43 AM

COURTESY TIMES OF INDIA JAN 11Ggn land scam: HC junks Dhingra commission report
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

In a huge reprieve for former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday invalidated the report of Justice S N Dhingra commission that probed controversial land deals in Gurgaon, including those allegedly linked to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra.


The high court division bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal, that saw the sealed copy of the report submitted by Justice Dhingra panel in 2016, held it is “legally non-sustainable” and “non-est (does not exist)”.

The order was passed on the petition filed by Hooda, who had challenged the constitutional validity of the Dhingra commission.

The division bench, however, gave divergent views on the issue whether the Dhingra commission could continue and prepare a new report or some other commission should be set up to probe the matter. The issue regarding continuance of the Dhingra commission issuing a fresh notice to summon Hooda under Section 8B of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952 to probe the matter or setting up of a new commission has been referred to Chief Justice Krishna Murari.

‘State competent to set up panel’
The high court, however, upheld the decision of CM Manohar Lal Khattar to constitute the commission. The high court also opined that there is no malafide on the part of CM Khattar or the state government in appointing the commission of inquiry on the issue.

Matter to go to high court Chief Justice for orders

In view of the difference in the operative portion of the judgments of Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal and Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal, the matter be placed before the Chief Justice for appropriate orders.

In the meantime, the original record, and the report of the commission in sealed cover be returned to the advocate general, Haryana, with the direction to produce the same as and when required by the court,” the high court held.

In the 118-page verdict, Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal, while giving his separate findings on the issue, held that the commission report touches and opines on the conduct of Hooda and affects his reputation. “It was essential to have issued the notice under Section 8B of the Act, which has not been done. Accordingly, the report submitted by the commission is held to be non-est and the same shall not be published,” Justice Mittal observed.

He also held that it shall be open for the commission to proceed further from the stage when notice under Section 8B of the Act was required to be issued and submit fresh report in accordance with law.

The other member of the division bench, Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal, in his opinion, disagreed on issuing fresh notice to Hooda under Section 8B of the Commissions of Inquiry Act by the Dhingra commission. Justice Grewal held that as the tenure of the Dhingra panel had come to an end and only a fresh commission could be appointed under the Act

 
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