Approach HC to reverse order, Supreme Court tells Chandrababu Naidu in DA case
November, 24th 2011
The Supreme Court has refused to stay a CBI probe into alleged disproportionate assets of former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. It, however, granted Naidu liberty to approach the high court for modification of its interim order.
"We are not inclined to interfere with the high court order. The petitioners (Naidu and others) are granted liberty to move the high court for modification or vacating the interim order," said a bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Justice TS Thakur and Justice Dipak Mishra on Wednesday.
It asked the high court to decide the matter within 15 days if appellants choose to approach it. "The high court is requested to dispose off the application within 15 days. It shall not be influenced by any of the observations made by this court," the bench said.
The order came after senior counsel UU Lalit and Anil Divan on behalf of appellant Naidu, TDP leader CM Ramesh and others, criticised the high court for not giving them opportunity to present their case before it . No opportunity or notice was given to them and an ex-parte order was passed on a petition of YS Vijayamma, the widow of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajashekar Reddy, they said.
The counsels submitted that the direction of the high court violated the apex court's earlier rulings that no such order can be passed without giving an opportunity to the other side. "The writ petition is still pending in the high court. Why don't you say the same thing there? Why are you rushing to the Supreme Court with your grievance," the bench asked the counsel while declining the plea.
Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Vijayamma, however, defended the high court's order saying it was well within its powers to do so. Responding to a query whether high courts can order a CBI probe against any citizen on a mere complaint, Jethmalani said Section 156(3) CrPC grants power to the magistrate to order registration of an FIR on the basis of a formal complaint.
Hence, he felt the high court did not commit any error in passing the impugned order. TDP leader CM Ramesh, who filed the petition, said the direction raised important questions on "whether the high court is justified in directing an investigation into the allegations without any notice to Naidu and the party.
It was submitted that Vijayamma's petition was politically-motivated and gross abuse of the process of the court. He said the direction of the high court was erroneous, unsustainable and quite contrary to the principles of natural justice. But the argument failed to convince the bench, which asked Naidu and other petitioners to approach the high court.