SC appoints special court, prosecutor for coal scam cases

Even as the Supreme Court on Friday appointed a Special Prosecutor and set up a special court to try the coal scam cases, the government sprang a surprise by standing up for the “rights of the accused.”

A Bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices M.B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph appointed senior advocate R.S. Cheema as the Special Public Prosecutor. The special court on Coal Block Allocation Matters will be presided over by Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar.

Cases relating to the scam will be transferred to the Special Court, which has been directed to expeditiously conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis.

Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the government, objected when the Bench directed that any challenge to the interim orders of or appeals against the Special Court should come directly to the apex court and no other.

This condition means the accused loses his constitutional right to move the Delhi High Court first. He is compelled to come straight to the Supreme Court.

“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 said.

The court assured him that it would examine the issue as and when needed. But Mr. Kumar said this particular condition was a throwback to the 2G spectrum scam days.

Mr. Kumar's objection is with reference to two orders passed by Supreme Court on April 11, 2011 and November 9, 2012 in the 2G 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, challenged the November 9 order in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Balwa asked whether the apex court, in the process of monitoring criminal matters, can use its extraordinary powers to do away with the constitutional remedy available to a citizen to approach the high court.

But the Supreme Court on October 3, 2013 declined to interfere with its earlier order. It reasoned that the 2G case was an extraordinary matter involving great revenue loss, and an exception was in order.

A recent aftermath of this order was seen when DMK MP Kanimozhi moved the Supreme Court directly for a speedy hearing of her petition, seeking to quash charges framed against her by the trial court in the 2G case.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 12:34:56 PM |

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