Accused in sensational cases are seeking to exploit judgment: Supreme Court

In a huge relief to the Union government and the CBI, the Supreme Court on Saturday stayed the Gauhati High Court verdict, which declared the premier investigating agency “unconstitutional,” saying the accused in “sensational cases” sought halting of criminal proceedings based on that judgment.

The stay came on an urgent petition filed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), nodal Ministry for the CBI. A Bench, headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, heard the appeal.

“There shall be a stay of operation of the final judgment and the impugned order dated November 6, 2013 passed by the Gauhati High Court,” said the Bench, which included Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.

It rejected the objections raised by counsel for Navendra Kumar, on whose petition the High Court passed the verdict, that the DoPT was not authorised to file the special leave petition as it was not a party in the High Court.

Posting further hearing to December 6, the Bench rejected the contention that the Centre’s plea was a “collusive petition” as, instead of the CBI and the Home Ministry, it was filed by the DoPT.

“The DoPT is an appropriate department. The CBI will file a separate appeal. We can’t dismiss the DoPT’s appeal in limine,” the Bench said taking note of Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati’s submission that the CBI and the Home Ministry would file separate appeals.

“You did not implead proper respondents before the High Court,” the Bench told Mr. Kumar’s lawyer. “We read in the newspapers that many people are seeking stay [of proceedings based on this judgment]. You have read that the two accused in two sensational cases [of the CBI] have sought stay of the trial. You file your objections. We will consider everything. Notice does not mean that we are rejecting your plea. We are concerned about all other cases [of the CBI],” it said.

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