Sunday, February 5, 2023

Supreme Court asks former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh to move Bombay High Court, says matter is quite serious and in public interest

Asking the petitioner to move to the Bombay High Court, the bench said "Why the petition should not be filed under 226 before the Bombay HC, as the powers are much wider under Article 226.

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The Supreme Court Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy on Wednesday heard the petition filed by the former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh seeking CBI investigation in the alleged corrupt malpractices of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Singh submitted that the transfer of a senior officer within two years is a serious case. Referring to the various Supreme Court judgements, Rohatgi said this can’t be done unless there are serious allegations involved against the officer. He said “here is a serious case of corruption by the Home Minister of a state”. To this, the bench told Rohatgi that the Article 226 has wide powers. If you want investigation by investigating agency, High Court can do that. Move High Court under Article 226.

When it is erupted in Public air the person has come out. Asking the petitioner to move to the Bombay High Court, the bench said “Why the petition should not be filed under 226 before the Bombay HC, as the powers are much wider under Article 226. The matter is quite serious. Lot of material is there which is come into public domain”.

The bench also pointed out that the Deshmukh has not been made a party in the case and said that the court has not impeded him as a party into this case. Granting liberty to approach the High Court, the bench said that the matter is quite serious. It also appears lot of material in public domain due to personas falling apart. In view of this, petitioner is permitted to withdraw plea with liberty to approach the High Court.

On further hearing, we put to learned senior counsel as to why the petition should not have been preferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India before the Bombay High Court as the powers thereunder, if any, are wider.

If investigation by an independent agency is being sought for, that is a relief which can also be granted by the High Court. There have also been subsequent developments in the matter as has been noticed in terms of the report of Ms. Rashmi Shukla, Commissioner, State Intelligence Department. The High Court has the requisite
authority to address the same

Citing Hathras rape case, Rohatgi said this is the matter of serious public interest for the whole country. Here is a case where a Police officer is transferred under the Administrative orders. On much lesser issues this Court has entertained cases under Article 32. To this, the bench replied that “The issue is Police reforms don’t taken place. Only when something erupts the Prakash Singh Judgment comes into effect. We have not doubt that it is the serious matter in view of the allegations are made”.

Rohatgi also said “I will move the High Court, only one consideration that High Court should take it up tomorrow. There is CCTV footage which needs to be preserved”.

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In view of the aforesaid, the learned counsel for the petitioner will approach the High Court. the court said “We have granted liberty to approach the HC and would like the matter to be taken tomorrow by the High Court as per the consideration of the High Court not as a direction from this court”.


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