Sohrabuddin: PIL challenging Amit Shah’s discharge is a ‘publicity litigation’, says CBI

Published - September 19, 2018 12:49 am IST

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that the plea urging the court to direct the CBI to challenge the discharge of Bharatiya Janata Party’s president Amit Shah “is a publicity litigation and not a public interest litigation.” The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Bombay Lawyers Association, which terms the CBI’s inaction to challenge the discharge of Mr. Shah in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case as, ‘illegal, arbitrary and malafide.’

Advocate Ahmed Abdi, appearing for Bombay Lawyers Association, told a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre the investigation in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh alleged fake encounter was transferred from Gujarat to Mumbai so that matters can be heard swiftly, “but look at the behaviour of the State. The petition was filed in January 2018 and has come up for hearing today.”

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the CBI, told the court he needs time to file a reply, which prompted Mr. Abdi to say that Mr. Singh can argue the case without filing a reply. “The central agency does not get to pick and choose whose discharge to challenge. Why is the CBI not challenging Mr. Shah’s discharge in the case?” he said. In reply, Mr. Singh said, “We have a preliminary objection to the petition and this is the fourth round of litigation. This is a publicity litigation and not a public interest litigation.”

On going through the petition, the court asked Mr. Abdi if he was challenging the transfer of Judge U.T. Utpat as mentioned in the plea, to which he said he was not. The court then asked him to amend the petition.

Mr. Singh informed the court that there was a revision petition filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin challenging Mr. Shah’s discharge order which he withdrew. His statement was also recorded by the HC to understand why he withdrew it. Then one Rajesh Kamble too filed a review challenging the order of discharge, which got rejected, and the court passed a detailed order with observations on his bonafide, he said.

The CBI counsel told the court that after this, social activist Harsh Mandar also challenged the order of discharge and that too was rejected by HC, but he moved Supreme Court (SC), which also rejected his plea. This is the fourth round of litigation, it said. He said, the apex court has rejected their petition in the Judge Loya case and made observations on the reckless allegations on judicial officers in the petition.

The court then asked Mr. Singh to compile all the orders of the SC and HC and told Mr. Abdi to amend his petition. Another criminal public interest litigation has been filed by journalist Bandhuraj Lone, also seeking the agency to challenge Mr. Shah’s discharge. Both the matters will be heard on October 3.

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