Blackmoney SIT probe: SC reserves order

Last Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 14:45

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today reserved
its orders on the maintainability of the Centre`s plea for
recall of its July 4 order appointing an SIT to probe the
black money issue.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar said it
would pass appropriate orders on the maintainability plea on
September 20.

Earlier, resuming the arguments, senior counsel Anil
Divan, appearing for the petitioners Ram Jethmalani and
others, said the Centre`s plea should be dismissed as the
recall application "is, in fact, an appeal on merits,
disguised as an application for modification and is an abuse
of the process to defeat the public interest".

Divan submitted that the order constituting the SIT was
passed by the apex court after hearing detailed arguments for
several days.

Citing the apex court`s earlier directions on forming
SITs in cases relating to post-Godhra riots and CBI
investigations in various matters, Divan argued that
appointment of the two Supreme Court judges to head the SIT
would only lend credibility to the probe.

The counsel submitted that the Centre cannot oppose it as
it did not violate its fundamental rights and the principle of
natural justice was observed by hearing the government before
passing the impugned order.

Attorney General GE Vahanvati, in his brief
intervention, said the order ought to be recalled as the
Centre was proceeding in the right direction in unearthing the
black money allegedly stashed away in foreign tax havens.

The Centre had earlier told the bench that the SIT set up
by the apex court to probe and unearth black money needs to be
scrapped as the investigating agency cannot function like a
"super power."

Vahanvati had said the Government had "very serious"
reservations on the court`s directions which had also cast
aspersions on sincerity of the Government in tackling the
black money menace.

Divan had sought dismissal of the Centre`s application
and had said the apex court had rightly constituted the SIT as
even the Centre had at that time admitted that the
investigations were not proceeding in the right direction.

The bench had pointed out that the SIT was initially
constituted by the Centre and the apex court had merely
incorporated the names of retired SC judges, justices B P
Jeevan Reddy and M B Shah.

The government, in its application, had also raised
objections to the apex court remarks criticising the Cenrte`s
handling of black money cases.

The court had made the critical observations while
appointing its former judges - justices Reddy and Shah, as
chairman and vice-chairman of the 13-member SIT into which the
Director of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) too had been
inducted.

The Centre, in its application for recall of the Court`s
July 4 order had contended that the SIT was formed without
being prayed for and has questioned the Court remarks that
investigations into the issue of black money stashed abroad
was moving at a "laggardly pace".

The bench had in its order said the money stashed away
reveal the degree of "softness of the State".

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 14:45

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