Punjab ex-DSP, Ludhiana resident get six months’ jail for contempt of court
Dismissed deputy superintendent of police Balwinder Singh Sekhon and Ludhiana resident Pardeep Sharma were found guilty of circulating derogatory videos against judges
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday sentenced dismissed deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Balwinder Singh Sekhon and a Ludhiana resident, Pardeep Sharma, to six months’ imprisonment after finding them guilty of circulating derogatory videos against judges.
Both of them were arrested in Ludhiana on February 20 on high court orders. They were produced in the court on Friday and found guilty for contempt of court. Besides the jail term, they were fined ₹2,000. They are likely to be sent to Burail jail in Chandigarh.
The order was passed by the high court bench of justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan. The detailed order is awaited.
Issuing arrest orders on February 20, the bench had observed that that freedom of speech and expression is protected under the Constitution. But their continued misconduct had forced the court to proceed against them with “heavy heart”. By putting material on social sites, they have not only by visible representation scandalised and lowered the authority of the court but have also interfered with the course of judicial proceedings.
The third person in the case was a web channel reporter of Scroll Punjab, Baljit Marwaha, against whom bailable warrants were issued on February 20.
The court had issued contempt notice to Sekhon on February 15. He was allegedly instrumental in circulating derogatory and defamatory videos of more than 10 high court judges. As the alleged derogatory videos continued to be posted despite the notice, the court ordered the arrest on February 20.
According to the order, the videos contained unsubstantiated allegations against the judges regarding the manner in which they might be conducting proceedings of the 2013 Jagdish Bhola drug racket in which the court is monitoring steps being taken by the Punjab government on the eradication of drugs and probe into cases of drugs, especially against high-profile individuals. It contained their alleged views about different reports prepared by SITs on the alleged involvement of high-profile individuals and the role of top functionaries of the state, the order said.
The court had observed that on various occasions they “abused the judges to the fullest” in their videos posted on social media sites. “A virtual panchayat is being held whereby abuses are being showered on this court (by the trio),” the bench recorded.