Saturday, November 9, 2013

SC stays Gauhati HC's order that declared CBI 'unconstitutional'

The Supreme Court on Saturday stayed the Gauhati high court's verdict that declared the CBI 'unconstitutional'. The next hearing is on December 6.

Earlier in the day, the Centre had challenged before the Supreme Court the Gauhati high court order and sought a stay on it contending that the verdict will adversely impact thousands of criminal cases pending across the country.

The matter was heard at the residence of Chief Justice P Sathasivam.

In its appeal, the government sought an urgent hearing against the high court order saying it "directly impacts about nine thousand trials currently underway and about one thousand investigations which are being undertaken by the CBI."

The special leave petition settled by attorney general GE Vahanvati, said "if the impugned order is not stayed, it will frustrate the law machinery and may result in multiplicity of proceedings."

"The order is already being seized upon by various accused persons in various proceedings in the country to seek a stay of further proceedings against them," the petition drawn by advocate Devadatt Kamat said.

The Centre also contended that the high court has erred in holding that the constitution of CBI was illegal, that the resolution constituting it needed presidential assent and that it could not be treated as a police force.

A division bench of Gauhati high court had on November 6 quashed the April 1, 1963 Resolution constituting CBI under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and declared all its actions unconstitutional.

The Centre said "the impugned judgement has serious ramifications on the functioning of the CBI as it has quashed a fifty-year-old Resolution which had stood the test of time."

"The CBI has been functioning effectively and has a staff of about 6000 people all of whom are engaged in the investigation and prosecution of various cases.

The said judgment is thus likely to have serious and severe consequences and it is absolutely necessary in the interests of justice and convenience that immediate ad-interim orders be granted staying the said judgment and operation thereof," the petition said.

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