Raising a protest, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Supreme Court (SC) Tuesday that entertaining former Finance Minister P Chidambaram‘s plea challenging the remand orders of a trial court would “set a very bad precedent”. The CBI sought dismissal of Chidambaram’s plea and said that similarly placed accused in trial courts all over the country would come directly to the apex court, challenging the remand orders of the trial court “as liberty of other citizens would not be less important than of petitioner (P Chidambaram)”.
The affidavit of CBI was filed before a bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna, which directed (in an unprecedented way) that Chidambaram remain in the custody of the CBI till September 5 and listed his plea for hearing on Thursday – September 5. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, filed the affidavit on the plea of Chidambaram in which he has challenged the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against him and the subsequent remand orders passed by the trial court.
In an unprecedented way, the bench headed by Justice Banumati ordered that “status quo” be maintained on Chidambaram’s custody despite the CBI insisting that it does not require his further custodial interrogation in the case.
In an affidavit filed by CBI S P Rajpal Meena, the probe agency said: “I state and submit that entertaining of a petition under Article 136 of the Constitution directly against an order of remand passed by the competent court in exercise of discretionary jurisdiction under section 167 of the CrPC would set a very bad precedent.”
It said there is a remedy available against the orders before the higher forum and it is settled legal position that this court would not invoke its constitutional discretionary jurisdiction under Article
136, directly against an order of the Special Judge remanding an accused to a few days of police custody.
“If this court were to entertain the Special Leave Petition (SLP) directly against the order of the special judge remanding the accused to police custody, all the litigants whose prayer for listing of SLP against anticipatory bail are refused and are thereafter arrested will be entitled to file similar petitions challenging the orders of special judge granting police remand directly before this court as the personal liberty of other citizens (which is interfered with in accordance with law) would not be less important than petitioner,” the CBI said.
It said that normally such orders are not interfered with even by the high courts, more particularly when the Special Court has, after an elaborate and lengthy hearing, passed a detailed speaking order in exercise of its judicial discretion. Referring to a Constitution Bench verdict of apex court in 1986, the CBI said that normally the high court is the final arbiter in bail/ anticipatory bail matters.
“Generally all SLPs challenging the bail/ anticipatory bail are, therefore, not allowed to be listed immediately on mentioning before the Chief Justice of India unless extraordinary and special reasons are shown,” it said. The CBI further said that Chidambaram has not pointed out any extraordinary circumstances which would have justified any deviation from the consistent practice being followed.
“There are no extraordinary or grave circumstances which justifies the petitioner to by-pass the statutory remedies which are resorted to by all citizens challenging the order of remand and there may be no justification for allowing the petitioner to do so by entertaining the present SLP,” it said and sought dismissal of appeal filed by Chidambaram.
The apex court Bench headed by Justice Banumati is also scheduled to pronounce its order on September 5 on Chidambaram’s separate plea in which he has challenged the August 20 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him anticipatory bail in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate.
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