Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea of Suspended Judicial Officer in Haryana Judicial Exam Paper Leak Case

LI Network

Published on: December 17, 2023 at 00:14 IST

The Delhi High Court has rejected a petition filed by Dr. Balwinder Kumar Sharma, a suspended judicial officer, challenging the charges framed against him in the case of the alleged leak of the question paper in the Haryana Civil Services (Judicial Branch) preliminary examination, 2017 [Dr. Balwinder Kumar Sharma v. State of UT Chandigarh].

Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, presiding over the case, noted the sensitive nature of the allegations and the presence of evidence indicating Sharma’s possession of the question paper immediately before the alleged leak.

Sharma, who served as the Registrar (Recruitment) at the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the incident, faced suspension after being accused of leaking the question paper.

The Delhi High Court, in its recent decision on December 14, emphasized that when digital or electronic evidence is available, the prosecution’s case cannot be dismissed at the initial stage. Consequently, Sharma’s plea challenging the charges was dismissed.

In 2017, Sharma was accused of leaking the question paper to certain candidates, prompting the cancellation of the examination.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court assigned the investigation to a Special Investigation Team. Sharma later approached the Delhi High Court in 2022, contesting the charges framed against him by an Additional Sessions Judge in Chandigarh in January 2020.

The Delhi High Court noted that the prosecution’s case against Sharma suggested his constant communication with a co-accused, Sunita, supported by call details of their known and ‘secret’ phone numbers.

Sharma allegedly provided a copy of the paper to Sunita, who then offered it to another candidate, Sushila, initiating negotiations with candidate Suman for payment.

Suman later revealed the alleged paper leak by petitioning the Punjab and Haryana High Court, leading to charges against Sharma.

Sharma argued before the High Court that the trial court failed to provide reasons for finding a prima facie case against him and contended that there was insufficient evidence, asserting that Sunita’s disclosure statement to the police should not be admissible against him.

The High Court, however, explained that during the charge stage, the court only needs to assess whether a prima facie case exists and consider broad probabilities.

It highlighted the difficulty of direct evidence in cases of criminal conspiracy, stating that court intervention is limited to addressing serious illegality, infirmity, or perversity in the trial court’s order. Finding no such issues, the High Court dismissed Sharma’s petition.

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