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PM's letter is thrown into dustbin says upset Supreme Court
November, 18th 2011

The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed its indignation over states for the failure to take follow-up action on the prime minister's order for setting up special courts to deal with cases being investigated by the CBI, and lamented that a letter written by the head of government to this effect in 2009 was thrown into the "dustbin".

Eight states, including Delhi, Gujarat, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Goa, were found to be defaulters for ignoring the instructions issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009. The prime minister had called for the setting up of special courts for trying cases of corruption that are handled by the CBI. Many of these cases involve politicians and bureaucrats.

The court also lamented the "unfortunate scenario" where states took decisions only under the threat of contempt. A bench of Justices GS Singhvi and SD Mukhopadhyaya granted eight weeks to the eight defaulting states to set up the special courts as majority of the cases pertaining to corruption and criminal misconduct related to public servants.

"Majority of cases taken by special courts involves cases of public servants. The prime minister's letter is thrown into the dustbin. It is an unfortunate scenario that only under the threat of contempt they (states) take decisions. Chief secretaries are supposed to take administrative decisions, but they do not take decisions on such important issues," the apex court said.

The eight states were found to have either failed to set up the sanctioned number or only partially implemented the prime minister's advice given in 2009.

According to the official figures, the number of sanctioned courts which the defaulting states failed to set up includes AP (5), Delhi (6), Gujarat (2), West Bengal (3), Orissa (4), Assam (2) Goa and Chhattisgarh (one each).

The apex court passed the direction while dealing with an appeal filed by the CBI, challenging a Gujarat High Court order which had stayed the transfer of an agency official probing alleged tax evasion to the tune of Rs 100 crore by oil companies in the state.

The apex court while dealing with the same issue on Tuesday had remarked, "Unless courts in this country assert, nothing moves at the executive and bureaucratic level in the country."

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