The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Bahujan Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati, on a special leave petition (SLP) seeking her prosecution in the Rs. 17-crore Taj corridor case without obtaining the Governor’s sanction.

A Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and Ranjan Gogoi also issued notice to the Centre, the CBI, the Uttar Pradesh government and Naseemuddin Siddiqui, a former Minister in Ms. Mayawati’s Cabinet on the petition, which was filed in response to a November 5, 2012 judgment of the Allahabad High Court that upheld the trial court’s order that Governor’s sanction was required for prosecuting the BSP president.

The appellants, Kamlesh Verma and others, said the High Court incorrectly ruled that since sanction was refused by the competent authority, the designated court did not have any jurisdiction to proceed with the matter, whereas, the order refusing sanction by the competent authority was not in issue at all.

The petition said that sanction was not required to prosecute the respondents in view of the Constitution Bench decision in the Matajog Dobey v. H.C. Bhari case. The High Court, the petitioners said, erred in upholding the illegal order of the designated court that directed the prosecuting agency to obtain sanction under section 197(1) of the Cr. P. C. upon the receipt of final report under Section 173 (2) of the Cr. P. C.

The High Court, the petitioners said, committed a manifest error in dismissing the petitions challenging the trial court order without even addressing the issues and erroneously held that “in the absence of sanction for the prosecution magistrate or designated court cannot proceed in accordance with law.”

According to the petitioners, public interest would be defeated if such high and influential public servants, allegedly guilty of gross abuse of power in defiance of public trust and confidence in the constitutional office held by them, were not prosecuted.

Further delay in justice, the petitioners held, would only benefit the accused respondents as they had been pursuing every means to frustrate the trial, including destruction of evidence, and thus sought the quashing of the impugned judgment and an interim stay on the operation of the judgment.