May 24, 2021 11:13:49 pm
The Bombay High Court on Monday expressed its displeasure with former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh approaching the Supreme Court earlier this month, pleading he was constrained to approach the apex court as the high court was not hearing his plea, and said if the top court was going to hear Singh’s plea, “then we will have to hold our hands.”
The High Court asked Singh to withdraw the statement in his petition.
“If the Supreme Court is going to hear this plea, then we will have to hold our hands,” the HC said.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N R Borkar was hearing Singh’s petition seeking that a case registered against him by Thane Police be quashed or be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“Please take it from us, we are not afraid of deciding the matter. Please don’t give the impression (to the top court) that HC is not deciding,” the bench added.
The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, assured the High Court that it will not arrest the former Mumbai Police Commissioner till June 9, the next date of hearing in the case, if he cooperated in the probe.
A total of 27 sections, including those under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, were added in an FIR lodged on a complaint filed by Police Inspector Bhimrao Ghadge last month, alleging that Singh had coerced him into dropping the names of a few persons from an FIR in 2015, and registered FIRs against him when he did not accept the orders.
Arguing for the state government, senior counsel Darius Khambata said it has found evidence to prove that Singh had taken contradictory stands before the Supreme Court and the High Court. Khambata said even though the HC had heard Singh’s petition on May 13, he had approached the top court on May 16 seeking similar relief, complaining that the HC was not hearing his plea.
Khambata argued that by making such submissions, the petitioner was indulging in “abuse of process” and “suppressing facts”.
He added that while the state had given assurance to the vacation bench on May 13 that no coercive steps would be taken against Singh till May 21, Singh still approached the Supreme Court before that and sought similar relief.
Advocate Satish B Talekar, appearing for Ghadge, argued that Singh was resorting to “forum shopping (approaching different forums for a suitable verdict)”, adding such approach had been deprecated by the Supreme Court in past cases and that the high court, too, should take “serious” cognizance of the same.
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, arguing the case on behalf of Singh in HC, said he was unaware of the details of the petition in the Supreme Court and assured that the said submission will be deleted. He added that Singh would not seek relief pertaining to the said FIR from the top court before June 9.
Senior advocate Puneet Bali, who appeared for Singh in the top court petition, argued that various FIRs were “orchestrated” against his client, adding that the former police chief was apprehensive he might be arrested as soon as he arrived in Mumbai. Pending hearing, Singh should be protected from arrest, Bali said.
The Maharashtra government, meanwhile, assured the High Court that it will not arrest the former Mumbai Police Commissioner till June 9 in the case. The state government, though, added that the assurance rested on the condition that Singh cooperates in the probe and does not pursue relief pertaining to the said FIR before the Supreme Court until June 9, which the court accepted.
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