Mumbai: Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society and its members, facing inquiry into alleged irregularities, on Thursday filed an application before the Commission of Inquiry objecting to the cross examination of witnesses by the Counsel for the Commission.
The Commission of Inquiry Act and the Rules framed there under do not contemplate appointment of a Commission Counsel for the purposes of conducting cross examination of witnesses, they said in an application filed by lawyers Manish Desai and Saket Mone.
The Commission`s Counsel does not have any right, power or authority or locus to cross examine persons, who have filed affidavits pursuant to summons received from the Commission, they argued.
The objection was raised by the Society and its members, RC Thakur, (Retd) Brig Wanchu and (Retd) Major Gen AR Kumar, who contended that in accordance with Section 8 of Commission of Inquiry Act only the Appropriate Government or any person whose conduct the Commission has considered it necessary to inquire into, has a right to cross examine the witnesses.
The Commission`s Counsel is neither the Appropriate Government nor a person referred by Section 8 of the Act nor a person whose evidence has been recorded by the Commission.
The Objectors argued that Commission Counsel is not a party whose rights are prejudicially affected, so also he does not have his own case to put up and hence is not entitled to cross examine the witnesses.
At the most, the Commission Counsel can assist the Commission to understand the facts of the case. In that case also, the Commission Counsel is only entitled to examine the witness and not cross examine. In this view of the matter, he should not be allowed to cross-examine any witness.
The matter has been posted for further arguments on September 19.