Manmohan has no go but to move SC

The apex court had made it clear in 2014 that it alone should be approached for relief

Updated - November 16, 2021 09:53 pm IST

Published - March 15, 2015 01:41 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh

A July 25, 2014, order by the Supreme Court leaves former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and five others with no option but to move the Supreme Court for relief from summons by the Special Judge in a coal blocks allocation case.

In fact, the BJP government opposed this order in the apex court on the day it was passed.

In its objection the Centre had pointed out how the order would block a person's legal right to approach the Delhi High Court and exhaust his remedies there before even coming to the apex court.

Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre, submitted that such a direction would do away with an entire level of appellate jurisdiction.

But the three-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha dismissed the government's objections and made it clear that “any prayer for stay or impeding the progress in the investigation/trial can be made only before this court and no other court shall entertain the same.”

Mr. Kumar had persisted that the order would work against the “rights of the accused.”

“A valuable right of the accused is being taken away. Do not dismiss the right of an accused to move the High Court for relief,” Mr. Kumar objected.

The court’s oral assurances that it would examine the issue as and when needed did not pacify the government. Instead, Mr. Kumar said the July 25 order was a throwback to the 2G Spectrum scam days.

In this regard, the Solicitor-General had referred to two orders passed by the Supreme Court on April 11, 2011, and November 9, 2012, in the 2G Spectrum case. The first one had barred other courts in the country from entertaining complaints relating to 2G case. The second stayed all proceedings pending in the Delhi High Court filed by accused persons to quash charges framed against them.

Shahid Balwa, a 2G case accused, had challenged the November 9 order in the Supreme Court.

He had questioned whether the apex court, in the process of monitoring criminal matters, could use its extraordinary powers to do away with the right of a citizen to approach the High Court first.

But the Supreme Court had declined to interfere.

Instead, the court reasoned that the 2G case was an “extraordinary” matter. The same logic applied for the July 25 order in the coal scam case.

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