The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday sought action against the officials of Bathinda Jail for allowing gangster Lawrence Bishnoi to give an interview to a television channel, while remaining in judicial custody in connection with a case.
The interview of Bishnoi, a suspect in the murder case of Punjabi singer Shubdeep Singh Sidhu alias Sidhu Moosewala, was telecast by a news channel in March this year, wherein he disclosed that he knew about the murder plot.
The Division Bench of Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal and Justice Kirti Singh, while hearing a suo motu matter related to the use of mobile phones within the jail premises by inmates, took note of Bishnoi’s interview.
The Punjab government apprised the High Court that Bishnoi was in judicial custody in Bathinda Jail when the interview was telecast. It also submitted that a two-member committee had been constituted to enquire into the matter.
Noting that it was a matter of grave concern that a suspect in custody was allowed to give an interview at length, the Bench sought action against the officers who permitted or facilitated the interview.
The High Court noted that the two-member committee, which was constituted in March 2023, could not make much headway, even after seven months.
The Bench directed the Additional Director General (ADG) of Prisons to file an affidavit on such delay by the Committee and submit its report before the court.
The High Court had initiated a public interest litigation after a single-judge Bench took suo motu note of the illegal use of mobile phones in prisons of Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh.
The Bench appointed Advocate Tanu Bedi as Amicus Curiae in the case and issued notice to the governments of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Union Territory Administration of Chandigarh.
The State of Punjab was represented by (AAG) Additional Advocate General Ishma Randhawa, while the State of Haryana was represented by Additional Advocate General Bijender. Public Prosecutor Munish Bansal represented the UT Chandigarh. Advocate Sumit Kumar appeared for Amicus Curiae Tanu Bedi