The Punjab & Haryana High Court on Friday asked the Centre to file an affidavit on whether any opinion was formulated on the issue of declining sanction to prosecute former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Nirmal Yadav in the bribery case against her.

The notice was issued to the Centre after making it a party to a petition filed by Justice Yadav.

The directions assume significance as Justice Yadav's counsel K.T.S. Tulsi has been asserting that the decision on sanction to prosecute cannot be reviewed once rejected.

In case of the former judge, the closure report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation before a Chandigarh court made it apparent that the sanction to prosecute her was declined, and the then Chief Justice too was of the opinion that no action was required.

Taking up Justice Yadav's plea, Justice Permod Kohli observed that review would take place only if there was a first opinion.

Impleading the Union Government as a party to the case, Justice Kohli added that in order to ascertain whether there was an earlier opinion, it was proper to seek information from the Centre. He asked the Centre's counsel to place before the Court the opinion or the details of the consultation in a sealed cover.

Justice Kohli also refused to pass a favourable order on Mr. Tulsi's prayer for issuing a notice to the CBI for the expeditious disposal of the case.

Date fixed

Fixing June 1 as the date for the next hearing, he added that the affidavit was to be placed before the court a day before the hearing.

Referring to the contents of the closure report, Justice Kohli maintained it appeared that the CBI had drawn some inference from a demi-official letter of Law Secretary D.R. Meena.

In the letter, the Law Secretary referred to a discussion between the Law Minister and the Chief Justice.

Mr. Tulsi earlier elaborated that Mr. Meena had addressed a letter on December 7, 2009, to then CBI Director Ashwani Kumar. Mr. Meena had written that the petitioner's case was discussed by the Law Minister with the then Chief Justice.

He observed no action was required, and that the case papers relating to the petitioner be returned to the Department of Personnel and Training. “But to the utter surprise of the petitioner, on March 1, sanction for her prosecution was granted by the President.”

Justice Yadav had, in her application, sought quashing of the summons directing her to appear in person in a lower court and the charge sheet filed by the CBI against her and others in the Special Court here on March 4.

Justice Yadav's name surfaced as the alleged intended receiver of Rs. 15 lakh after the amount erroneously landed at the doorstep of another High Court judge with a similar first name who reported the matter to Chandigarh Police. — PTI