Black money: Govt moves SC for recall of order for setting up SIT
July, 16th 2011
Government moved the Supreme Court seeking "recall" and "modification" of its July 4 order for setting up a 13 member Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising of retired judges to probe all aspects of the black money and also bring back the amounts illegally stashed in bank accounts abroad.
Governmnet is opposed to SIT headed by judges and chiefs of CBI, Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Revenue Intelligence and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) that deals with external intelligence.
The petition , which said the SIT was formed without being prayed, raised ten main grounds among others for recall of the order in which it has been pulled up for the "laggardly pace" in investigations into the issue of black money stashed abroad.
The application, filed through the Revenue Secretary,contended the July 4 order appointing former judges - Justices B P Jeevan Reddy and M B Shah as chairman and vice-chairman of SIT was "without jurisdiction" and against the well- established doctrine of seperation of power.
Maintaining that a bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and S S Nijjar has impinged upon the domain entrusted to the executive, it said the order is "contrary to the settled legal princple that the function of the court is to see that the lawful authority is duly exercised by the executive but not to take over itself the task entrusted to the executive."
In the review plea, the government has also maintained that the high-power committee set up with the Revenue Secretary as its head was sufficient to conduct investigations as it had the chiefs of all relevant agencies as its members.
"It impinges upon the well setttled princple that courts do not interfere with the economic policy which is the domain of the Executive and that it is not the function of the court to sit in judgement over matters of ecnomic policy, which must necessarily be left to the expert bodies," it said.
The government argued courts are neither concerned with the judicial review of the economic policy nor it was required for them to substitute their views on matters which falls within the ambit of the executive.
"That the judicial review is not concerned with the matters of economic policy as the courts do not substitute their views and judgement for that of the executive as regards the matters which fall within the domain/province of the executive. It is respectfully submitted that the courts do not supplant the views of experts by its own views," the application said.
While assailing the order for setting up of SIT and making adverse remarks, the government contended the direction will eliminate and denude the constitutional responsibility of the executive.
"That the said order has the effect of completely eliminating the role and denuding the constitutional responsibility of the executive which itself is answerable to Parliament and it is further respectfully submitted that it directly interferes with the functions and obligations of the executive, more particularly, since it is ordered that SIT will report directly to the Supreme Court, therefore excluding the executive and consequently Parliament also," it said.
The court had said "Unaccounted monies, especially large sums held by nationals and entities with a legal presence in the nation, in banks abroad, especially in tax havens or in jurisdictions with a known history of silence about sources of monies, clearly indicate a compromise of the ability of the State to manage its affairs in consonance with what is required from a constitutional perspective."