The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the summons issued by the special CBI court against Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the charge sheets filed in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya issued notice to the CBI and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation. It posted the matter for hearing after two weeks to consider the question of jurisdiction of the special court taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed in the case.
When senior counsel Harish Salve and senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi pleaded for a stay of the summons that asked the two companies' top executives to appear on February 22, the Bench said: “We would quash the proceedings if we come to the conclusion that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.”
Counsel argued that since corruption charges had not been made against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act, their case was triable by a magistrate and not by the special court. They wanted the summons stayed until the question of jurisdiction was decided.
The Bench, however, did not agree with the submissions and refused to stay the summons.
In their petitions, Essar and Loop said that under the provisions of the Cr.PC. the charge sheet (which was filed before the special CBI court) ought to have been filed before the magistrate. The special judge had taken cognisance of the charge sheet on December 21, 2011.
They said the special judge relied on an administrative order passed by the Delhi High Court for taking cognisance of the charge sheet. They asserted that the special court had no jurisdiction to hear their cases and sought the quashing of the summons and an interim stay of all further proceedings pursuant to the issue of summons.