The Supreme Court of India today granted the appeal of former Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his son, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a case of alleged forgery involving the party’s dual constitution. The bench, led by Justice MR Shah, overturned the High Court’s dismissal of petitions seeking the quashing of the criminal case against the Badals and a resident of Hoshiarpur.
In its decision, the Supreme Court stated that the ingredients of the offences, including cheating and forgery, were not established. The court also noted that the summoning order was an abuse of law. However, the court clarified that it had not expressed any opinion on the SAD Constitution and only quashed the summons against the Badals on the grounds stated.The complainant had argued that the SAD submitted two different constitutions and, despite claiming to be secular, continued to contest elections for the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, a religious body. The Badals’ legal team countered that the criminal case alleging forgery and cheating had no basis, as being religious did not conflict with the principles of secularism. The Supreme Court had previously stayed the ongoing proceedings against the Badals in a Hoshiarpur court.
According to Hindustan Times, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had disposed of a petition by the SAD against the Hoshiarpur court’s proceedings, stating that there was sufficient evidence before the judicial magistrate to summon Prakash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, and Cheema based on their undertakings regarding the party’s constitution. However, the Supreme Court’s decision today has allowed the appeal by the former Chief Minister and his son, providing relief to the Badals in this case.