Thursday, February 9, 2023

Supreme Court adjourns hearing on plea related to smuggling of iron ore to China to March 9

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The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned till March 9, hearing on a petition filed by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, seeking direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR and probe the duty evasion by 61 companies for allegedly ‘smuggling’ iron ore to China since 2015.

A Bench led by Chief Justice (CJI) N.V. Ramana asked Sharma, “Why did you file a caveat in P. Bhushan case?

Sharma said,

“This is my matter, he has tagged matter. Seriousness is this, in my another matter, which is regarding iron ore. He always wanted to disturb my case. He was asking for relief against law. In his petition, he is asking for directions for people to export iron ore without duty over certain percentage.”

The CJI then asked Sharma, “Why should he spoil your case?”

Sharma said, “He has taken every document which I secured in my case for last three years.”

To which, CJI responded, “Everyone is filing PILs? Why you did not file it 10 years before?

Sharma said, “I collected the documents for the past five years.”

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Bhushan said, “We should refrain from these issues. Please allow me to make my submission in this case. I am appearing for common cause.

The CJI then told Bhushan, “We have to hear him (Sharma) first as he has filed the petition.”

When the CJI asked about the absence of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the respondents pleaded for adjournment. The Court agreed to hear the matter on March 9.

Earlier on March 15, 2021, a three-Judge Bench of the apex court, comprising then Chief Justice (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian had sought a detailed response from the Centre and certain iron exporting companies on a petition by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma.

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The Apex Court also sought a reply from certain iron exporting companies.

During the course of hearing then, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had sought and pleaded for more time as he wanted to file a reply in the case.

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