Supreme Court dismisses govt’s plea for early hearing on Black Money case

The government had moved the review plea against the apex court order on May 1.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: May 16, 2014 12:59:56 pm

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the government’s plea for an early hearing of its review petition against the order on making public the details into the Black Money case and activating the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to carry out speedy probe.

A bench led by Justice B S Chauhan asked Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra to approach the Court registry to have the matter listed before the judges who had passed the impugned order.

“How can we modify or sit over an order passed by some other bench?  What message will it send if we do it sitting in the vacation when the judges who passed the order are already available? You should approach the registry to request the judges,” said the bench.

It declined to give any date for hearing the review petition by the government.

The government has moved the review plea against the apex court order on May 1.

On May 1, a bench led by Justice H L Dattu had re-constituted the SIT and directed the government to issue necessary notification in three weeks so as to enable it conduct inquiries and monitor the probe into the Black Money case.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ranjana P Desai and Madan B Lokur, further directed the Centre to make public by sharing with petitioner, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, all the details regarding the 26 account holders in Liechtenstein Bank in Germany who were investigated in the case.

Both the orders were issued on the basis of the SC’s July 4, 2011 order, whereby the court had asked the government to share information with the petitioner and also let the SIT monitor the probe into the Black Money case.

The SIT however was re-constituted on May 1 after Justice (retd) BP Jeevan Reddy had expressed his inability to head the team.

Disgruntled by the directives, the government decided to move the SC, seeking a review of this order. According to the sources, the government’s argument is that setting up of the SIT was an unworkable mechanism and that it also lacked jurisdiction in view of the settled legal positions.

The government contends that the SIT was not all required in the wake of the progress made so far in the case and further that the expert probe agencies did not require to be brought under its scrutiny either.

As per the sources, the government also opposes sharing all the information with the petitioner since, it thinks, will compromise with the investigation and may also prejudice the cases that have to be eventually tried in courts of law.

The matter is likely to be mentioned before a bench led by Justice B S Chauhan.

This will be the government’s final attempt to have the order modified. In March, the court had junked the government’s application for recall of the impugned order. It had lashed out at the government for its “inaction” in bringing back black money it said is stashed in foreign bank accounts and “destroying the economy”.

Throwing out the government’s plea to disband the SIT, the ourt had came down heavily on it for “doing nothing” to retrieve black money from foreign tax havens “except for filing a report in the sealed cover in the last three years”.

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