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Monday, July 23, 2018

2G: SC order on restraining other courts to entertain matters challenged

Appearing for the RTL,senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi also pleaded for a recall of the SC order

Written by Utkarsh Anand | Published: July 30, 2013 3:27:20 am

The Supreme Court’s mandate on restraining any other court in the country,including the Delhi High Court,to entertain matters relating to the 2G cases was on Monday challenged on the ground of “practically denying a fair trial to the accused”. The counsels,appearing for Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) and Shahid and Asif Balwa — all accused in the 2G case — contended that the apex court’s order in April 2011 to bar the high court or any other court from entertaining the appeal against the 2G trial court’s order had taken away their valuable legal as well as constitutional rights.

“By virtue of this order,accused have been practically denied a right of fair trial. Their rights under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction of high court) and Section 482 CrPC (quashing of FIRs and criminal proceedings) have been taken away and they now face a very serious problem in the trial court,” argued senior advocate Ram Jethmalani,who appeared for Balwas.

He told a bench of Justices GS Singhvi and KS Radhakrishnan that the 2011 order “virtually repealed” their constitutional rights under Article 226. “Never in the history of a case,a public prosecutor has been appointed by this court (SC). However,it happened in this case and now when we go to the trial court,we appear before a demi-God in the form of a public prosecutor. While the high court is reluctant to hear us because of this court’s orders,the trial court hurries into deciding the case against us,” complained Jethmalani,requesting the bench to hear them at length and finally.

He also pointed to the court that no formal notice had been issued to the CBI till date on a bunch of petitions challenging the impugned SC order and that the bench should now seek a formal reply from the agency so that the trial judge also realises that the CBI too,and not just the accused,ought to be answerable to the apex court. Similarly,appearing for the RTL,senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi also pleaded for a recall of this order and said that it took away the rights of several persons,who were not even present in the court when the order was passed.

Rohatgi was arguing against the trial court’s July 19 order whereby it allowed CBI’s application to summon Anil Ambani and his wife Tina as witnesses in 2G spectrum case. As he said that RTL would file a formal application to get the order recalled before next hearing on Thursday,the bench assured the counsels that it would hear their contentions at length very soon.

Rohatgi sought quashing the July 19 order,saying it amounted to giving an opportunity to the CBI to improve its case. He claimed that the CBI was still “uncertain” about its case against the accused and sought to cover up for the lacuna by way of moving such applications. Rohatgi added that Anil Ambani’s statement had already been recorded by the CBI in February 2011 and there was no reason why the trial judge should now allow such pleas. The trial court on Monday issued summons to Anil and Tina Ambani for August 22 and 23,respectively.

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