The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice, returnable in four weeks, to the Centre and Securities and Exchange Board of India Chairman U.K. Sinha on a public interest writ petition challenging his appointment. A Bench of Justices S. S. Nijjar and H. L. Gokhale also directed that Omita Paul, Secretary to the President, be impleaded as a party in the quo warranto petition and issued notice to her as she was involved in the appointment. It, however, refused to issue notice to the Centre on the plea for a CBI inquiry.
Petitioner Arun Kumar Agrawal alleged that Ms. Paul had bent rules to facilitate Mr. Sinha’s appointment, bypassing other eligible candidates. Mr. Sinha was the only candidate who did not apply for the post but was hand-picked through the search route, the petitioner contended. Also, he said, Mr. Sinha failed to fulfil one of the eligibility conditions: the SEBI Chairman should be a person of high integrity. A whole-time SEBI member, in his complaint to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said the then Advisor to the Finance Minister and Mr. Sinha were acting on behalf of certain companies, Mr. Agrawal pointed out.