The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered a stay on the payment of salary to the Public Prosecutor and Investigating Officer for failing to carry out effective prosecution proceedings in a case registered under Sections 363, 366-A and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act.

"Since the Public Prosecutor and the Investigating Officer of the case have not performed their duties with due promptitude, therefore, they deserve to be put under some coercive conditions so as to compel them to complete the process of the trial as soon as possible. Accordingly, it is ordered that the payment of salary to the Public Prosecutor, who is conducting this case, as well as the salary of the Investigating Officer of the case, shall remain stayed till all the prosecution witnesses are examined before the Court in the case.", the Single Bench of Justice Rajbir Sehrawat ordered.

The Court held thus while adjudicating upon the bail application of one-Bunty.

Advocate Gurpreet Singh appeared for the petitioner-bail applicant whereas Additional Advocate General Sandeep appeared for the State.

In this case, the Court observed that the prosecution had not even examined a single witness despite the accused being in custody for more than four years.

"The petitioner has already been in custody for more then four years in this case. Despite that, not even a single witness has been examined by the prosecution so far. The liberty of the petitioner cannot be jeopardized by casualness of the prosecution, particularly, when the allegations are that the prosecutrix had gone with the petitioner and remained with him for full one week; during which she visited several places and stayed in Hotels. Even if the petitioner is guilty, that has to be so held by a court of law by conducting Trial in right earnest and due promptitude.", the Court observed.

The Court held that the accused-bail applicant cannot be forced to suffer incarceration without any effective proceedings being conducted against him.

Therefore the Court ordered his release on bail.

"In view of the above, but without commenting upon the merits of the case, the present petition is allowed. It is ordered that the petitioner be released on bail pending trial on his furnishing bail bonds/sureties to the satisfaction of the trial Court/Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate concerned.", the Court held.

The Court also directed the Director (Prosecution), Punjab and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Hoshiarpur, to send report qua stopping of the salaries of the two officers on or before October 15, 2022.

Cause Title- Bunty v. State of Punjab

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