Updated: March 25, 2021 10:26:52 am
The Supreme Court Wednesday asked former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh to approach the Bombay High Court with his plea seeking a CBI probe against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh even as it said that it has “no doubt that the matter is quite serious and affects the administration at large”.
A bench of Justices S K Kaul and R Subhash Reddy said the HC has “wider” powers under Article 226. “If investigation by an independent agency is being sought for, that is a relief which can also be granted by the High Court,” it said. “The High Court has the requisite authority to address the same,” the bench said, allowing Singh to withdraw the petition.
Initially, the bench pointed out to Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for Singh, that the petitioner had not made Deshmukh a party to his plea. Rohatgi said he will implead the minister and the court allowed it.
SC: Petitioner is making some allegations and Minister too is making allegations…We don’t see why you should not approach HC…We have no doubt matter is quite serious affecting administration at large…liberty granted to approach HC. @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) March 24, 2021
Rohatgi told the bench that the controversy had rocked the state where there were no police reforms yet. But the bench responded that no state had carried out police reforms ordered by the SC in its 2006 judgment in Prakash Singh and Others vs Union of India and Others.
“…this is only a mantra recited periodically, wherever the occasion so suits… It appears that none want to give up, inter alia, the control of police transfers or implement measures that would insulate the police machinery from performing its role without any uncalled for interference,” it said.
Rohatgi sought to impress upon the bench the need to hear the matter and said it is rare that a police commissioner is removed like this. But the bench stood by its decision to ask Singh to approach the HC. In his plea, Singh, who was shifted to Home Guards last week, has repeated allegations he levelled against Deshmukh in a letter sent to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray — that the minister asked Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze, who was arrested by NIA in the Antilia bomb scare case, to collect Rs 100 crore every month.
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