The Supreme Court on 1st February 2022 Tuesday restrained the Punjab government from arresting Lok Insaf Party (LIP) MLA Simarjeet singh Bains till February 3 2022 Thursday. Bains faces arrest in connection with a rape case and also for violating the covid protocol.
Hearing Bains’s appeal on the arrest warrants against him by a Magistrate Court in Ludhiana, a bench headed by chief justice of India N.V.Ramana directed it be listed along with the petition filed by the complainant in the rape case. Bains, the legislator from Ludhiana’s Atam Nagar, is contesting the coming Punjab polls from the same seat. The bench also comprising justices A.S.Bopanna and Hima Kohli initially wondered if Bains’s arrest could be postponed until after the elections on February 20. “He is a contesting candidate. Let him contest and then arrest him…” the CJI said.
But with opposition from the woman’s counsel, the court decided to hear both matters together on February 3. “Learned counsel appearing for the complainant vehemently opposed grant of any relief to the petitioner… he submits that he has filed a writ petition (crl) no.24 of 2022 and requests that the said matter may be listed and heard along with the instant petition…. In meantime, we restrain the state government and direct them not to arrest the petitioner for the time being”, the SC ordered.
Appearing for the woman, advocate Gagan Gupta had opposed any relief by the top court to Bains, saying warrants had been issued against the MLA “many time even before”. He said after filling the rape complaint against Bains, the woman has had four cases lodged against her, and her witnesses too were being threatened. “:Now this (Bains’s) plea has been based as if this is happening on the brink of elections. There are20 cases pending against him. He is a threat to the society”, Gupta submitted as he urged the SC to first hear the complaint before deciding Bain’s appeal.
Bain’s lawyer, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, however, told the court the rape case against the two- time MLA was “false” and that his petition seeking its quashing was pending before the high court. Pointing out that Bains’s case was brought to its attention on Monday, the CJI added: “Sorry to say, there was another mentioning regarding Simarjit Singh Bains where a case has been registered against him. Sorry to say, suddenly these criminal cases are coming up before elections. At least allow to file nominations”.
The court also told the Punjab government counsel, “Please advise your state that such cases are not filed before elections. Earlier on Monday, while granting protection from arrest to shiromani akali dal leader bikram singh majithia in a case under the NDPS act, the CJI had remarked that cases are suddenly coming out of Punjab in the run-up to the elections.