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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Delhi High Court allows ED, CBI pleas for early hearing on appeals in 2G scam cases

The court ordered that the petitions seeking leave to appeal be listed for hearing on October 5 for a hearing on day-to-day basis.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | September 30, 2020 1:28:38 am
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THE DELHI High Court on Tuesday allowed applications filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI for expedited and early hearing in cases challenging acquittals of those accused in the 2G spectrum case.

The court ordered that the petitions seeking leave to appeal be listed for hearing on October 5 for a hearing on day-to-day basis.

Former Union Telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others were acquitted in a case of money laundering and corruption in the 2G spectrum case 2017.

With courts closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the petitions against acquittals in the alleged 2G scam have not come up for hearing since March. The ED and CBI had recently approached the HC for an early hearing in the case, as Justice Brijesh Sethi, who has part-heard one of the appeals in the matter since October 2019, is set to retire on November 30.

Most people or parties who were previously accused in the case have opposed the prayer for expeditious hearing in the matter. In case the arguments remain inconclusive before the bench, the court was told, they would have to be heard afresh by another bench. The central agencies also argued that the cases have “great public importance involving issues of integrity amongst the government functioning, which has placed Union of India in a vulnerable position not only in India but globally”.

In Tuesday’s order, Justice Sethi said that he court is of the opinion that all attempts should be made to hear the matter as early as possible. “Though this court has limited time, yet no one should carry an impression that he will not get a fair opportunity of hearing. This court assures that everyone will be given an effective hearing. However, it goes without saying that irrelevant and repetitive arguments need to be avoided,” the order stated.

Observing that interests of justice demand that part-heard matters, as far as possible, should not be left inconclusive, the court said the lawyers should assist in such matters to avoid the need for fresh hearing by a new bench, as that would cause “unnecessary loss to the public exchequer and wastage of the judicial time”.

Rejecting the argument against hearing of the cases through video-conferencing, the court said, “…this court has been conducting hearing through video conference since 24th April, 2020, and cases which are voluminous in nature have also been decided. This ground should not, therefore, be an excuse for this court or for the learned counsels for not proceeding with the arguments…”

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