Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Supreme Court orders Jharkhand CM to submit copy of WP filed before High Court against Hemant Soren

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The Supreme Court directed Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday to submit a copy of the writ petition filed before the High Court, seeking an independent probe against him for alleged siphoning off of money through shell companies.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justice U.U. Lalit and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat on two separate petitions moved by Soren and the Jharkhand government against the High Court verdict, accepting the maintainability of the said plea.

The Apex Court told the Counsel for the petitioner to place on record the copy of the writ petition along with its annexures and all the pleadings exchanged by the parties.

The Bench also directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate and the Union of India, to place on record the documents they relied on.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the state government, told the Court that even though the PILs were not genuine and politically-motivated, the High Court had proceeded to pass orders.

According to Sibal, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), despite there being no predicate offence, handed over the material in a sealed cover, as if it was already prepared. Even though an objection was raised regarding the same, the High Court went through the documents, added the Senior Advocate.

He alleged that the High Court did not give them time to respond and conducted day-to-day hearing in the case, including on Saturdays.

The Bench asked if the original petitioner (who filed the PIL), had filed a First Information Report regarding the matter.

The Counsel for the original writ petitioner replied that a representation was marked to the PMO on page 242.

The Apex Court asked the Counsel whether the petitioner had moved the police authorities, 156 or filed a complaint? Sibal replied in negative.

As the Court sought a copy of the representation, Sibal said a copy of the same would be submitted during the next hearing on August 16.

The state government had challenged the Jharkhand High Court order of June 3, wherein the bench of Chief Justice Dr R. Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad had ruled that the PIL(s) were maintainable.

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