Legal Correspondent

It is contrary to Delhi Police Act provisions: counsel

  • Says there is no violation of petitioner's rights
  • Wants the matter referred to five judges

    New Delhi: Senior counsel Harish Salve on Wednesday strongly opposed the Supreme Court order of March 1 that directed a preliminary enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the assets of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh, his son Akilesh Yadav and other family members.

    Mr. Salve was making his submissions before a Bench of Justices C.K. Thakker and Altamas Kabir that is hearing a petition filed by Mr. Akilesh Yadav seeking a review of the order.

    The Bench is hearing the petition, after Justice A.R. Lakshmanan (since retired), sitting along with Mr. Justice Kabir, recused himself from the case on March 16 following the receipt of an anonymous letter.

    Mr. Salve said the court directive was contrary to the provisions of the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act that contemplates prior consent of the State Government concerned before a CBI probe is ordered.

    He cited a last week order of a three-judge Bench referring to a Constitution Bench an issue on courts' powers to order CBI probe.

    As the order was contrary to the basic principles, it required reconsideration. A public interest litigation petition was intended only to protect a citizen against violation of his fundamental rights. Since there was no violation of the rights in this case, the court, acting on a PIL petition, could not direct a CBI probe and ask the agency to submit a report to the Union Government, he said.

    "If the proposition of law, as framed by the three-judge Bench, is correct, then you [two-Judge Bench] do not have the power to issue such a direction." Mr. Salve said. As serious issues touching on the federal character of the country were involved, this matter must be referred to five judges.

    Mr. Justice Kabir asked Mr. Salve: "if we do not have the power who else has the power? We have to go by the law as it stands. You never argued all these points before." The arguments will continue on Thursday.