Recusing from hearing the petition filed by a Ludhiana resident apprehending threat to his life at the hands of outgoing Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Naunihal Singh, Justice Rekha Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday ordered that the petition be put up before some other bench. The petition filed by Jaswinder Singh Walia will come up for hearing on Wednesday.
Justice Mittal is the second High Court Judge who has recused from hearing Walia’s petition. Earlier, on December 2, the day Walia had filed the petition, Justice Sabina had recused from hearing the petition the same day. The petition was then listed for hearing before Justice Mittal on December 4 who, without issuing notices to any of the respondents, had simply adjourned Walia’s petition to Tuesday for arguments.
Showing urgency and highlighting apprehension to Walia’s life and liberty, his counsel Advocate Ravi Kamal Gupta requested the Court that the petition be fixed for hearing on Wednesday itself. The request was allowed by the bench.
Walia, who was present in the courtroom Tuesday, produced two telephonic conversations, purportedly between him and Naunihal Singh, which took place on December 4 wherein Singh allegedly asked Walia to withdraw his petition minutes before it was to come up for hearing.
Walia produced the conversations to corroborate his claim that he was put under tremendous and “constant pressure” by Singh and his “associates” to withdraw his petition. The conversations were recorded by Walia on his mobile phone. Both the conversations, supported with an affidavit, were submitted by Walia to the High Court .
Last week Walia had petitioned the High Court seeking police protection from his once-good-friend Naunihal Singh. Levelling serious, both professional and personal, allegations against Singh, Walia had submitted that he apprehends threat to his and his family’s life and liberty. A petition running into over 550 pages annexing documentary evidence was filed in this regard.
However, Walia had returned to the High Court on December 4 around 3:30 pm with a lawyer (not his lawyer on record) and had offered to withdraw the petition. The Court had turned down the request and had asked him to return n Tuesday for hearing of the case.
Explaining this, Walia has submitted in his affidavit that it was “due to coercion and duress” due to SSP Naunihal Singh asking him to “make a statement on his own for withdrawal of