In a significant development, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has ordered a judicial inquiry into the death of protesting farmer Shubhkaran Singh, who tragically lost his life on February 21 on the Punjab-Haryana border. Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) GS Sandhawalia, along with Justice Lapita Banerji, emphasized that the investigation must not be entrusted to Punjab or Haryana authorities “for obvious reasons.” Instead, the Court has constituted a three-member committee comprising a retired High Court judge and two officers of ADGP rank from Haryana and Punjab.

Key Court Observations

ACJ Sandhawalia expressed strong disapproval of the use of children as shields during protests, denouncing it as “absolutely shameful.” He lamented the fact that children, who should be in school, were exposed to a war-like situation. The Court also raised concerns about the use of bullets and pellets by Haryana Police on protestors, demanding clarity on the matter.

Judicial Scrutiny

Reviewing the affidavits submitted by the States, the Court concluded that the farmer’s death was likely the result of excessive police force. It admonished the Punjab Police for the delay in filing an FIR, highlighting that the incident occurred on February 21, yet the FIR was lodged only on February 28.

Government Response

Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain informed the Court that the Central Government is willing to engage in discussions with farmer leaders either in Chandigarh or Delhi. He also noted that certain remedial measures have already been initiated by the government.

Farmers’ Demands and Legal Proceedings

The farmers’ protests, demanding a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) among other reforms, have sparked legal scrutiny. The Court heard petitions challenging alleged government obstruction and sought a judicial probe into the protester’s death, along with other related PILs.

Court Directives

Earlier, ACJ GS Sandhawalia urged the Punjab Government to ensure that protestors do not assemble in large numbers, emphasizing that the right to protest is subject to reasonable restrictions. He also questioned the use of tractors and trolleys for protests, citing violations of the Motor Vehicle Act.


The Punjab & Haryana High Court’s decision to order a judicial inquiry underscores the judiciary’s commitment to upholding accountability and justice in sensitive matters. By appointing an independent committee and scrutinizing government actions, the Court aims to ensure transparency and fairness in addressing the grievances of protestors and upholding the rule of law.

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