J. Venkatesan

Relief for Mayawati in the Taj Corridor project case

New Delhi: In a relief to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to go into the correctness or otherwise of the Governor’s order refusing to grant sanction for prosecuting her in the Rs. 175-crore Taj Heritage Corridor project case.

“If no sanction of the Governor was required [as contended by the amicus curiae] or if he has committed an error in passing the said order, the appropriate court would be entitled to deal therewith, but not this Bench.”

The Bench, consisting of Justices S.B. Sinha, S.H. Kapadia and D.K. Jain, pointed out that in its November 27, 2006 order it had directed the CBI to place the evidence/material collected by the investigating team along with the report of the Superintendent of Police, as required under Section 173 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, before the special judge concerned who would decide the matter in accordance with the law. “We do not think we should go beyond the same,” the Bench said.

Amicus curiae’s plea

In his application, amicus curiae Krishan Mahajan urged the court to set aside the Governor’s order.

Keeping in view the political scenario in the country, the CBI might not show any further interest in the matter and the apex court, monitoring the case from the beginning, should interfere, he said.

Writing the judgment, Justice Sinha said: “We have no doubt in our mind that the judiciary may step in where it finds the actions on the part of the Legislature or the Executive are illegal or unconstitutional but the same by itself would not mean that public interest litigation, in a case of this nature, should be converted into an adversarial litigation.”

The Bench said, “The jurisdiction of the court to issue a writ of continuous mandamus is only to see that proper investigation is carried out. Once the court satisfies itself that proper investigation has been carried out, it would not venture to take over the functions of the magistrate or pass any order which would interfere with his judicial functions.”

Once a charge sheet was filed, it was only the magistrate who could take a decision in the matter.

Dismissing the application, the Bench said, “This court should not take upon itself the task of determining the guilt or otherwise of an individual involved in criminal proceedings.”

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