CJI calls NAN scam case to be heard by a Bench led by himself

The State government had objected to the reference of the case to a fresh Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Hima Kohli.

Updated - November 21, 2022 04:14 pm IST

Published - November 21, 2022 12:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice D.Y Chandrachud.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice D.Y Chandrachud. | Photo Credit: PTI

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday informed the Chhattisgarh government that petitions concerning the Nagrik Apurti Nigam (NAN) scam will be heard by a three-judge Bench led by himself.

Justices Ajay Rastogi and S. Ravindra Bhat would be accompanying him as associate judges on the Bench.

Justices Rastogi and Bhat were associate judges on an earlier Bench led by Chief Justice Chandrachud ‘s immediate predecessor in office, Justice U.U. Lalit, who had retired on November 8.

The State government had objected to the reference of the case to a fresh Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Hima Kohli.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, in repeated oral mentionings before Chief Justice Chandrachud, had argued that the case should ideally have been, according to convention, referred to either Justice Rastogi or Justice Bhat.

Mr. Sibal had questioned the reference of the case to the Bench led by Justice Shah.

“I will be replacing Justice Lalit on the Bench. Justices Rastogi and Bhat will join,” the CJI addressed Mr. Sibal during an oral mentioning on Monday.

The case concerns allegations of cheating worth crores through the supply of low-quality food through the public distribution system in Chhattisgarh. The ED had also registered a money laundering case. It had approached the apex court seeking a transfer of the case outside Chhattisgarh. It had alleged that some constitutional functionaries were in touch with a high court judge to help the accused. Both the State and the ED had submitted documents in sealed covers earlier in the Supreme Court.

Appearing for the ED, Solicitor General had said there was a growing trend to malign the judicial institution in the face of adverse orders, especially in politically sensitive cases. He had said he could “neither choose nor avoid a Bench”.

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