The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with its earlier orders barring High Courts from entertaining appeals from accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case against the orders of the trial court.
On April 11, 2011, a Bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi said: “We also make it clear that any objection about appointment of Special Public Prosecutor or his assistant advocates or any prayer for staying or impeding the progress of the trial can be made only before this court and no other court shall entertain the same. The trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis.”
This was reiterated in the November 9, 2012 order.
Shahid Balwa and others accused in the 2G case challenged these orders, contending that the apex court could not take away their rights to file an appeal in the High Court.
“In public interest”
Dismissing the applications, a Bench of Justices Singhvi and K.S. Radhakrishnan said the nation and its people were seriously concerned with the outcome of cases involving larger public interest, like the one concerning 2G, and this court, as the guardian of the Constitution, had got the duty and obligation to see that the larger public interest and the interest of the nation was preserved and protected. When larger public interest was involved, it was the responsibility of the constitutional court to assure judicial legitimacy and accountability. Public interest demanded timely resolution of cases relating to 2G scam. Prolonged litigation undermined public confidence and weakened the democracy and rule of law.
Writing the judgment, Justice Radhakrishnan said: “Crores and crores of taxpayers’ money is being spent on investigating crimes since every such incident is a crime against society. When the persons involved in the crime wield political power and influence, the possibility of putting pressure on the investigating agency, which is no more independent in our country, is much more. Common people will be left with the feeling that they can get away with any crime.”
The Bench said:
“The April 11, 2011 order — that trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis — only facilitates the progress of the trial. Large backlog of cases in the courts is often an incentive to the litigants to misuse the court’s system by indulging in unnecessary and fraudulent litigation, thereby delaying the entire trial process.
“Criminal justice system’s procedure guarantees and elaborateness sometimes give, create openings for abusive, dilatory tactics and confer unfair advantage on better heeled litigants to cause delay to their advantage. Longer the trial, witnesses will be unavailable, memories will fade and evidence will be stale.
“Taking into consideration all those aspects, this court felt that it is in the larger public interest that the trial in 2G scam be not hampered. Further, when larger public interest is involved, it is the bounden duty of all, including the accused persons, who are presumed to be innocent, until proven guilty, to cooperate with the progress of the trial. Early disposal of the trial is also to their advantage, so that their innocence could be proved, rather than remain enmeshed in criminal trial for years, unable to get on with their lives and business.
“In case they have any grievance against the orders passed by the Special Judge during trial, they are free to approach this court so that the progress of the trial would not be hampered by indulging in cumbersome and time-consuming proceedings in the other forums, thereby stultifying the pre-emptory direction given by this court for day-to-day trial.”
Accused argued that apex court cannot take away their rights to file an appeal in HC
Our April order for day-to-day proceedings will facilitate progress of trial, says SC