Punjab and Haryana High Court grants anticipatory bail to Sukhbir Badal in Kotkapura firing case

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was booked for his alleged involvement in the Kotkapura firing, in which several protesters were injured after police opened fire on them.

The order was passed on Tuesday by the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Raj Mohan Singh. The High Court directed Badal to appear before the trial court within 15 days and issued a directive to the trial court to release him on interim bail, "subject to its satisfaction".

The High Court noted that the grant of interim order, however, would not be construed to confer any equitable consideration in favour of the petitioner for ultimate decision of this case on merits. 

On October 14, 2015, hundreds of people had joined protests against the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, but police allegedly used brute force to clear the protest site. Police also opened fire on the agitators, leaving several seriously injured. Three sacrilege incidents were reported in Kotkapura city, which angered the Sikh Sangat. 

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government, under the then Chief Ministership of Parkash Singh Badal, had lodged a first information report (FIR) against the protesters. 

After the change in regime, a fresh FIR was filed in August, 2018, naming top police officers including the then DGP, former CM Parkash Singh Badal, along with his son and then Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal as accused.

The prosecution had claimed in the fresh FIR that both Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir aided and facilitated the police to use excessive force against the protesters by staying silent on the issue. 

A trial court in Faridkot last week granted anticipatory bail to Parkash Singh Badal after considering his advanced age and related ailments. However, it refused to any relief to Sukhbir, who then moved the High Court. 

Sukhbir Badal was represented by Senior Advocate R.S. Cheema, along with Advocates D.S. Sobti, Shivkartar Singh, Arshdeep Singh Cheema, Tarunam Cheema and Arshdeep Singh Kler. 

Additional Advocate General Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala appeared for the State, while Advocate Imaan Singh Khara represented the complainant. 

(Case details: Sukhbir Singh Badal vs State of Punjab)