In a controversial order, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reportedly issued a diktat directing a lower court in Mansa, Punjab to initiate action against a trial court staff member for requesting the High Court to produce a film on his job experience and injustices meted out in the courts.
The bizarre incident took place when Harmeet Singh Tinku, an official at the Sessions court of Mansa, Punjab had written to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 1, 2018 asking for permission to make a movie on his own experience regarding how judges break law, injustices and other tortures caused to him during his service.
In response to Singh’s letter, the Register General of the High Court has sent an order dated September 7, 2018, to the District and Sessions Judge of Mansa to conduct an enquiry regarding whether the above-said letter was sent by Harmeet Singh Tinku and has asked the court to initiate departmental action against Singh if it is found that he had indeed sent that letter. The High Court has said that the conduct of the official is “contumacious” and amounts to gross indiscipline or insubordination on his part.
“The above conduct of the official is contumacious, which amounts to gross indiscipline/insubordination on his part. Therefore, permission sought for is denied”, the Registrar General said in his letter. He further added, “The Incharge Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mansa is directed to verify and intimate as to whether said E-mail was sent by Shri Harmeet Singh Tinku and if found correct, initiate/recommend departmental action against him, in accordance with law”.
These incidents of High Court ordering lower courts to punish common people for seeking answers on alleged injustices and delays occurring at the judicial institutions is not uncommon in the country these days. The Delhi High Court after its pioneering discovery of the distinction between ‘Sandal’ and a ‘Chappal’ had also issued a contempt action against journalist S Gurumurthy for questioning the alleged ‘Conflict of interest’ in issuing orders on the release of activist Gautam Navlakha, who was arrested for allegedly involving in a plot to kill the country’s Prime Minister. A Twitter user has recently summed up some of the curious judgements and cases the Indian judiciary has been keeping itself busy with.
— Prominent Citizen Spaminder Bharti (@attomeybharti) October 31, 2018
The Indian judiciary has lately been very serious about the criticism and the nature of dissent it receives regarding its functioning. The top courts of the country and its judges seem to be unrelenting and dogmatic in crushing any dissent when these judicial institutions come under public scrutiny.