P&H HC Fines Lawyer, Enjoins Bar Council Oversight Over Religious Sentiments Case

P&H HC Fines Lawyer, Enjoins Bar Council Oversight Over Religious Sentiments Case

The Punjab & Haryana High Court has instructed the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana to closely monitor the behavior and actions of a lawyer accused in an FIR for sharing a controversial message about Hindu deities on a WhatsApp group.

While quashing the FIR on the basis of the compromise deed, Justice Kuldeep Tiwari said, "a copy of this order be also forthwith forwarded to the Chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, with a direction that the same shall be placed in personal file of accused. The Chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, shall also ensure to keep a vigil on the act and conduct of the present petitioner and in case, henceforth any similar offence is committed by the petitioner, then appropriate disciplinary action be taken against him."

In addition, the Court has levied a fine of Rs. 50,000 as it quashed the FIR. It further stated that failure to deposit the fine within one week would result in the quashing relief being automatically revoked, and the petition would be considered dismissed.

Pritpal Singh Sangha, a practicing lawyer, faced charges under Sections 153-A, 295-A, and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code in Hoshiarpur, Punjab. The complaint was filed by Ashok Sareen, who alleged that Sangha had shared a derogatory and offensive message in a WhatsApp group with the intent to provoke religious sentiments within the Hindu community.

Subsequently, the parties reached a compromise, leading to the filing of a plea for quashing, as confirmed by Sangha's counsel. During earlier proceedings, the Court had instructed both parties to appear before the relevant trial court to authenticate the compromise through their respective statements. Consequently, the statements regarding the authenticity of the compromise were duly recorded.

Stating that "the fact that the offences, for which the petitioner/accused has been charged, are not grave in nature", the Court allowed the plea.

Mr. Gurmeet Singh, Advocate with Mr. S.K. Kanojia, Advocate for the petitioner.

Mr. Pardeep Bajaj, D.A.G., Punjab.

Mr. Shubham Mirok, Advocate for the respondent No.2.


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