Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 1
More than four years after the services of Additional District and Sessions Judge Hemant Gopal were placed under suspension, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has given its administrative side time till the last week of October to apprise the Bench on the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings against “the stated delinquent official”.
The matter was placed before the Division Bench of Justice Jaswant Singh and Justice Sant Parkash after former MLA Mangat Rai through counsel Vishal Garg Narwana filed a petition against the High Court and the state of Punjab. Among other things, a decision was sought on concluding the disciplinary proceedings “based on inquiry proceeding concluded on August 31, 2018, returning the finding of guilt against the stated delinquent official inter alia on the charges of corruption”.
Appearing before the Bench for the High Court, advocate Vikas Chatrath prayed for a short adjournment to seek instruction in the matter. Taking a note of the prayer, the Bench adjourned the hearing.
Narwana on Rai’s behalf had earlier submitted the “delinquent official” had been held guilty of demanding and accepting illegal gratification in the regular departmental inquires. As such, he deserved to be dismissed forthwith for safeguarding the judiciary’s image and reputation.
Going into the background, Narwana submitted the officer posted as Patiala CBI Special Judge erred in law in convicting the petitioner for cheating under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC before sentencing him to seven years of rigorous imprisonment as he and others convicted refused to pay bribe of Rs 40 lakh each demanded by him.
Narwana added Gopal was found guilty of demanding illegal gratification from the petitioner in its discreet inquiry report dated September 6, 2013, submitted by then Registrar (Vigilance) Arun Kumar Tyagi, who recently retired as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In the regular departmental inquiry, the inquiry officer in her report dated March 31, 2018, held all allegations contained in the Article of Charge were proved against the “delinquent officer”. The petitioner made a representation on April 2, 2019, to the High Court and the Chief Justice seeking action against “delinquent officer” on the basis of regular departmental inquiry. But “to date, action had not been taken for reasons best known to the High Court”, Narwana added.
Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan of the High Court in a related matter has already asserted: “Though no final order has been passed by the High Court qua Hemant Gopal, Additional District and Sessions Judge, who is continuing under suspension for the last about four years, yet prima facie, his indictment as per the inquiry report is apparent on record”.
Suspended 4 yrs ago over graft charges
- Hemant Gopal, posted as Patiala CBI Special Judge, convicted the petitioner for cheating and sentenced him to 7-year RI for refusing to pay Rs40L bribe
- Gopal was found guilty of demanding illegal gratification in an inquiry report dated September 6, 2013, submitted by then Registrar (Vigilance)