Wednesday, July 25, 2007


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HC judge gets CBI to drag lawyer to Agra mental asylum


Posted online: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST

As late as 10.15 pm tonight, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court hastily convened to stay a bizarre and controversial order by a brother judge ordering the CBI to arrest a lawyer and admit him to a mental asylum in Agra and use “modern devices” to probe his alleged link with “anti-social elements.”

The Division Bench stay came after the order sparked outrage in the judicial community here and advocates thronged the local CBI office in protest. A CBI team which was already en route to Agra with the advocate is said to be on its way back now.

Justice Uma Nath Singh’s unusual order came earlier today when he took suo motu notice of an FIR registered on July 6 against advocate Tahar Singh based on his wife’s complaint of matrimonial cruelty and criminal intimidation.

Just three days ago, Tahar Singh had led a campaign to call for an emergency meeting of the Bar Association to discuss the conduct of High Court judges.

“In view of serious nature of allegations regarding beatings and torture of the complainant and her children by the accused in a barbaric manner which only an insane person would do and further that on enquiry, the Court is prima facie of the opinion, that accused is a worst case of mental disorder,” said Justice Singh in his order.

“It is also learnt from the Bar that the accused creates nuisance and commotion wherever he goes with the help of some anti-social elements on the strength of some vested interests who finance him in doing so. In this background, to ensure the safety of life of the complainant and her children, I deem it expedient to direct the Superintendent of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation, Chandigarh to immediately take the accused in custody, and take him away from Chandigarh to admit him in the Mental Hospital, Agra, for proper treatment,” the order said.

The judge further directed the doctor in charge of the hospital discharge the accused only on being fully satisfied that he would not react violently in the future.

Directing the CBI to take charge of the investigation, Justice Singh said: “The CBI shall use modern devices during investigation to find out the connections of Tahar with anti social elements and the vested interests who are misusing him during this spell of insanity. As far as possible, the interrogations of the accused as directed should be done only at Delhi or at Agra.”

The judge held that “though it appears that Tahar’s wife is well placed in life but during the treatment of the accused, which may take some time, in case of financial problem with the children of the accused, they may apply to this Court for help and the Registrar (General) shall, after considering their application, give a reasonable amount from the amount being collected by imposition of costs by this Court.”

When contacted by The Indian Express, Tahar Singh’s wife, Sujata Sharma said: “I just made a complaint, I am shocked to learn that he has been arrested by the CBI. I never wrote any letter to any court. He is not at all insane.”

Late tonight, a Division Bench, comprising Justice M M Kumar and Justice Surya Kant, was constituted as per orders of Chief Justice V K Jain after a delegation of advocates headed by senior advocate R S Cheema and Atul Lakhanpal met Jain.

Besides Cheema and Lakhanpal, Anmol Sidhu, president of the High Court Bar, and its secretary, Onkar Singh Batalvi, argued that the court had no jurisdiction to pass such an order.

The bench stayed the implementation of Justice Singh’s order and directed that Tahar Singh be released if he was not required by the CBI tonight for investigation. Notices were issued to the Home Secretary, UT Administration, and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh has been directed to be present in the court along with senior CBI officials before the division bench tomorrow.


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