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Badals’ ‘conflict of interest’ reaches HC

Posted in S. Asia

Published on September 04, 2015 with No Comments

Punjab and Haryana High Court allowed advocate H C Arora to file a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging “conflict of interest” of Punjab’s ruling Badal family for its involvement in transport business while running the state government.

The Division Bench comprising Justices S K Mittal and Mahavir Singh Chauhan accepted Arora’s request to relieve him as an amicus curiae in a case arising out of April 29 incident near Moga wherein a teenage girl died after being allegedly molested and thrown off a moving bus of Orbit Aviation Private Limited, owned by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

During the resumed hearing of the case, Punjab’s Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal submitted that the state government has paid a compensation of Rs 5.55 lakh the victim’s family. Also, Rs 24 lakh was paid by Orbit Aviation Private Limited to the victim’s family, it was submitted.

The amicus curiaes, advocates RS Bains and Arora highlighted that unless larger issue of conflict of interest is considered, the state of affairs in the state transport undertakings in Punjab shall not improve.

They reasoned that it is due to the conflict of interest where the Deputy Chief Minister himself owns a larger number of shares in private transport companies that have to compete with government owned transport undertakings.

The court said this is a larger issue and it could be debated in a separate PIL only and the present case must be confined to the cause of bus accident, adequacy of compensation, if any, paid to the family of the victim and the ways and means to stop recurrence of such accidents in future.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Union minister) retain a number of shares in the private transport companies. The case would now come up for hearing on October 7.


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