Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the UT administration’s failure in providing details about corruption cases in which challans have not been filed by the investigating agency concerned for years together. The court directed that the information be filed by August 26.
The order from the bench of Justices Rajesh Bindal and Javed Iqbal Wani came when Additional Advocate General Raman Sharma sought more time to submit the information, sought by the court in its July 21 order.
Sharma said the details were “almost compiled’’, and that the administration was “in the process of finalising” it.
Appearing in a connected PIL, advocate Sheikh Sheel Ahmed has submitted that the delay by the UT administration is “deliberate and intentional’’; that in the fight against corruption in J&K the “big sharks are being spared and children of lesser God and political opponents are being targeted”, the bench pointed out.
The bench said considering seriousness of the matter, time up to August 26 is granted for submitting the information.
Earlier, the court had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue – ut had noticed that challans were not filed by investigating agencies in various old cases, including some registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act more than a decade ago.
On July 21, the bench of Justices Bindal and Rajnesh Oswal had issued notices to the UT Home Secretary; Secretary, General Administration Department; Director General of J&K Police; and Director, UT Vigilance Bureau in the matter. Before adjourning the case to August 10, the bench had made it clear that only one counsel will represent the UT in the case.
The matter got the court’s attention when Justice Bindal, while dealing with different cases, noticed that in many cases employees close to their retirement approach the court, seeking benefits of their entire service. Some of them had been under suspension for years, but no chargesheet was filed in the cases concerned, or criminal cases registered against them were not taken to logical conclusion, the bench observed.
Pointing out that some of those even were registered with serious offences such as the Prevention of Corruption Act, the bench said that information was sought from all district courts in UTs of J&K and Ladakh regarding FIRs in which no challan has been presented by the probe agency.
The court said, “We need to seek response from the authorities concerned as to why the investigating agencies are sleeping over investigation of cases with serious allegations…. As per information received from the Court of Special Judge, Anti-Corruption, Jammu, there are FIRs starting from 1998 under Prevention of Corruption Act where challans have not be presented till date.”
Besides corruption, there are also offences related to counterfeit currency or under NDPS Act, it noted.
The court pointed out that there are “time-lines provided in CrPC and NDPS Act for presentation of challans, otherwise an accused is entitled to default bail. Any delay by investigating agency in not completing investigation is seriously impacting the justice delivery system…”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines