Friday, September 29, 2023

Supreme Court annuls Calcutta HC order, allows Mamata Banerjee, state to file affidavits before HC

The top court also requested the high court to accept these affidavits.

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The Supreme Court on Friday annulled the Calcutta High Court’s decision to not accept the affidavit of the state in the Narada sting case and asked the West Bengal government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and state law minister Moloy Ghatak to file their applications before the high court. The top court also requested the high court to accept these affidavits.

The three challenged this refusal by the high court in the apex court. the high court’s rationale for not accepting the affidavits was that the affidavits were filed late after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had made his opening argument.

The top court asked the three to file the applications by June 28, after serving advance copies to the CBI a day before. At the same time, the CBI has been given liberty to file a reply to the applications.

In the morning the Supreme Court bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari decided to deal with the issue at hand quickly and asked the counsels to state their main arguments in five minutes.

Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the State of West Bengal, said that “on June 2 an additional affidavit was submitted by the CBI. On June 3, the SG concluded his arguments. On 4th, 5th, 6th the larger bench did not sit. We filed our affidavit on the 9th of the month. The HC denying the petitioner to file an affidavit on basis of a lacuna is not right. The rule of lacuna applies to Civil cases and not to the criminal cases. In criminal case finding the truth is the main objective, therefore rejecting the petitioners right on the basis of lacuna is not justified.”

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, also appearing for the State of West Bengal said: “The high court rules says that no one shall be denied the right to file the affidavit.”

At that time the SG started presenting the whole timeline of the case. the bench asked him to stick to the issue of the case.
At that Mehta said: “When I argued for the whole day, the high court said that you file a chronology of events of the case. On the 7th of June, the CM and the law minister filed their affidavits to fill the lacuna. They were present from the beginning of the case but they didn’t file the affidavit. They chose to file the affidavit at a much later date to fill the lacuna. They took a calculated risk.”

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Bench: “We don’t find fault anywhere. The things happened in haste. Now in the midst of the hearing, if you want to place anything on record, then you should have moved an application stating the reason as to why the affidavit was not filed earlier.”
SG: “I may be given the opportunity to argue on the application to file the affidavit.”

Bench: “We direct the respondents to file their application in support of their counter-affidavit.”

Source: ILNS

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