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Updated: April 7, 2011 00:30 IST

Exemplary costs on former SP MLA stayed

J. Venkatesan
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Guwahati on Tuesday. The Supreme Court has issued notices to Mr. Gandhi and the U.P. government on a petition by a former legislator.
PTI Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Guwahati on Tuesday. The Supreme Court has issued notices to Mr. Gandhi and the U.P. government on a petition by a former legislator.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed an Allahabad High Court order imposing Rs. 50 lakh in exemplary costs on a petitioner and directing a CBI probe against him for filing a petition against Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

A Bench of Justices V.S. Sirpurkar and T.S. Thakur stayed the order on appeal by Kishore Samrite, a former Samajwadi Party MLA from Madhya Pradesh, after hearing counsel Kamini Jaiswal.

The Lucknow Bench of the High Court had imposed the exemplary costs on Mr. Samrite for filing a habeas corpus petition, alleging that Mr. Gandhi had kept a girl and her parents in captivity. The allegation turned out to be false. The High Court passed the order after the girl, who was produced in court, denied any such incident.

Staying the March 7 order, the Bench issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, Mr. Gandhi and four others, seeking their response in four weeks to Mr. Samrite's appeal for quashing it.

Ms. Jaiswal argued that the High Court order was illegal, without jurisdiction and arbitrary, and passed without application of mind. The Division Bench unilaterally transferred to itself a petition pending before a single judge and passed orders; it did so though the Bench was only dealing with another petition filed by Gajendra Pal Singh, who claimed to be a relative of the girl.

Mr. Samrite said the CBI had registered a case and that he apprehended arrest.

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