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Supreme Court order on black money not feasible: Centre

Stating that the Supreme Court order on black money was not feasible to be implemented, the Centre has demanded that it be recalled.

Acting on petitions filed by the former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, and others, the court had ordered constitution of a special investigation team headed by the retired Supreme Court judge, B.P. Jeevan Reddy, to bring back black money stashed away abroad.

G.E. Vahanvati, Attorney-General (AG), appearing for the government, on Wednesday told a Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and S.S. Nijjar that the Centre's application for recall of the July 4 order was maintainable and the court had the inherent power under the Rules to do so.

Mr. Vahanvati said the order touched upon economic philosophy, which was never argued. The court would have no power to appoint two retired judges on the High Level Committee, which was constituted in April by the government or the jurisdiction or authority to convert the HLC into a SIT and further direct it to report to this court alone.

“The inclusion of retired judges, Director of the RAW and RBI Governor in such a SIT would be contrary to the conferment of the powers to investigate, which can be done only in accordance with statutory provisions.”

Mr. Vahanvati pointed out that investigation could be conducted only by the statutory authorities and the SIT could not be converted into an investigating agency. Justice Nijjar told the AG: “Seeing the conduct of the proceedings, we passed the order.”

Justice Kabir told the AG: “You [Centre] had agreed to a court-monitored investigation.” Mr. Vahanvati said the July 4 order had far-reaching implications as it had the effect of dislodging every authority constituted under various Acts for conducting the probe and the “SIT becomes a super force.”

Senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for Mr. Jethmalani, however, said the application was not maintainable as it amounted to seeking review of the order.

Arguments will continue on Thursday.

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