Respond to Khaira’s plea in 6 weeks, SC tells state

New Delhi, January 20: The Supreme Court today gave six weeks to the Punjab Government to respond to AAP leader and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s petition challenging a Fazilka court order summoning him in a drug smuggling case.

A Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana gave six weeks to the state after its counsel sought time to file its reply through a letter circulated before the hearing. It gave two weeks to Khaira to file his rejoinder to the state’s reply.
Khaira was represented by senior advocate PS Patwalia.
The Bench directed that the matter be listed after eight weeks.

In a huge relief to Khaira, the top court had on December 1, 2017, stayed the summons and had issued notice to the Punjab Government.
Terming the case a result of “political vendetta”, Khaira had challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order rejecting his plea against the summons that required him to appear before the Fazilka court on December 21.
After the stay order, he didn’t have to appear before the trial court.

The Fazilka court had issued a non-bailable warrant against the AAP leader in the March 2015 drug smuggling case, but the high court had quashed the NBW and asked the Fazilka court to decide the case on merits. However, his plea for quashing of summons was rejected by the HC.

After that the Fazilka court had on November 30 issued fresh summons to Khaira and four other accused asking them to appear before it on December 21 to record their statements under the NDPS Act.
Others summoned by the trial court were Joga Singh, Manish, Charanjit Kaur, a resident of Bath village (Jalandhar), and Major Singh Bajwa of Bajwa Kalan village (Jalandhar).

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