The Centre contended the SIT was formed without being prayed and cited 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
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to hear the Centre’s plea seeking recall of its order for setting up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising its retired judges to take over the probe into all black money cases, reports PTI.
A three-judge bench headed by justice Altamas Kabir posted the Centre’s recall application for Wednesday for hearing.
However, noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and other petitioners, on whose plea the apex court had constituted the SIT, criticised the government for seeking recall of the order of 4th July.
Senior advocates Anil Diwan and RK Dhawan, appearing for the petitioners, contended the government’s plea is not maintainable as instead of complying with the order it has approached the court for recalling the order.
They said the government should file a review petition instead of application for recalling the order.
The Centre, in its application, contended the SIT was formed without being prayed and cited 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.
Maintaining that a bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and SS Nijjar has impinged upon the domain entrusted to the executive, the Centre said the order is “contrary to the settled legal principle 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.”
“It impinges upon the well-settled principle 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 economic policy, which must necessarily be left to expert bodies,” it has said.
The 73-year-old Gandhian, who was fasting in the jail, insisted on an unconditional release and permission to launch his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park from where he had planned to launch his fast yesterday morning
New Delhi: The government was faced with a piquant situation with Anna Hazare refusing to come out of Tihar Jail despite being offered a release late Tuesday, 15 hours after he was detained and prevented from going on fast demanding a strong Lokpal, reports PTI.
The 73-year-old Gandhian, who was fasting in the jail, was insisting on an unconditional release and permission to launch his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park from where he had planned to launch his fast yesterday morning.
Mr Hazare’s close aide Manish Sisodia, who was arrested along with him and released, said the social activist has the authorities that he will come out of the prison only after a written unconditional permission is given to continue his fast at Jai Prakash Narain Park here.
Mr Sisodia said Mr Hazare and activist Arvind Kejriwal were continuing with their fast.
Neeraj Kumar, director general (Tihar Jail), said Mr Hazare was in his room and all formalities have been completed for his release. But he has refused to go out as he wants an unconditional release, he said.
Jail sources said Mr Hazare’s conditions like permission to fast from JP Park has been communicated to the authorities concerned for final decision.
In a sudden turn of events, government withdrew charges against him after picking up Mr Hazare from a flat in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar at 7:30am when he refused to heed Delhi Police’s request to him not to go ahead with his fast in violation of prohibitory orders.
On a day of high drama, Delhi Police, which got Mr Hazare and seven of his associates remanded to seven days judicial custody and lodged them in Tihar Jail, issued warrants of release around 2000 hours as thousands of people courted arrest in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities across the country protesting against the government action.
Mr Hazare and his associates were charged under Sections 107 and 151 of CrPC dealing with preventive arrest after police believed that they were about to commit cognizable crimes when they refused to heed the Delhi Police’s request not to go ahead with the protest as it would be in violation of prohibitory orders.
After some high-drama of shifting the arrested from a police officer’s mess to a police station, the Gandhian and his associates were remanded to judicial custody for seven days after they refused to give a personal bond that they would not violate prohibitory orders and hold protests.
Mr Hazare along with his three supporters have been kept in new admission ward of jail number four while Mr Kejriwal, a former IRS officer, and three others have been kept in jail number one.
Two other prominent activists Kiran Bedi and noted lawyer Shanti Bhushan, who were detained under Delhi Police Act for apprehension of breach of peace, were released in the evening.
More than 1,500 activists were detained in Delhi when they hit the streets in support of Mr Hazare while in Mumbai, over 1,000 were held and hundreds of others in cities across the country.
Mr Hazare, who is campaigning Lokpal that will cover prime minister, higher judiciary and MPs conduct inside Parliament among others, went on fast in the prison taking only water, sources close to him said.
Opposition parties closed ranks, disrupted both the houses of Parliament, attacking the government action as ‘murder of democracy’ and a throw-back to the days of emergency.
The government fielded an array of ministers led by home minister P Chidambaram before the media and rejected the criticism of its action.
The government was at its pains to say right to protest is a constitutional right but it must be exercised under certain reasonable conditions.
Mr Chidambaram said Lokpal is not a panacea for corruption but on of the answers to deal with the menace and government was against Team Hazare’s attitude of “my bill or no bill”.
Shortly after Mr Hazare’s arrest, his campaigner Prashant Bhushan announced a series of agitational programmes, including a march from India Gate to Parliament today evening and protest by supporters in Delhi streets.
He also called upon government employees to go on mass leave on Wednesday to show solidarity with Mr Hazare. However, Mr Chidambaram expressed the hope that government servants will not heed to the ‘wrong call’ of mass leave given by Team Anna.
Noting that Delhi Police was ready to release Mr Hazare on a personal bond if he gave an undertaking that he will not defy prohibitory orders, Delhi Police commissioner BK Gupta said the Gandhian refused to do so.
He said they had initially suggested that Mr Hazare hold his protest at Sadbhavana Park which has a capacity to accommodate around 15-20,000 people.
“According to our intelligence reports, 15-20,000 people were to gather for the protest and we suggested that he stage his protest there but Delhi High Court had banned any protest there. It was then that we suggested Jai Prakash Narain Park,” he said.
The woman, who was known for her activism to protect wildlife and the environment, had complained about receiving threats from a police officer
"Gandhi: the purpose of civil resistance is provocation. Anna has succeeded in provoking the government and the opposition. Hope he wins us freedom from corruption. Meet at 2pm Boat Club Bhopal." Thus reads the latest note on the Facebook page of Shehla Masood. It was also the last noting by the Bhopal-based activist who was murdered outside her residence in broad daylight on Tuesday.
Ms Masood had just got out of her house to attend the demonstration called to support Anna Hazare when she was shot dead by unidentified attackers.
Shehla Masood, known for her initiatives under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and wildlife activism, had allegedly been harassed and threatened by police officer Pawan Shrivastava and had lodged a complaint, but no action was taken on it.
In a letter dated 19 January 2010, addressed to the director general of police in Madhya Pradesh, Ms Masood wrote, "One and a half year ago, I had filed a complaint against IP officer Pawan Shrivastava for making threatening calls to me while he was on deputation as director cultural department. I had lodged (a complaint) at Maharana Pratap Nagar Police Station in Bhopal. I had also met the then DGP of MP, Mr Puwar, on 27/02/2008. I had provided the evidences, but till now nothing has been done."
Ms Masood was also involved in issues of good governance, police reforms, the environment, 'Save the Tiger', women's and minority rights, and transparency. She was also active on many blogs where she discussed issues like anti-corruption, women's empowerment and progress. Her recent blog updates on scratchmysoul.com are on corruption.
In her letter to the director general of police, Ms Masood had expressed her fear that Shrivastava being a powerful police officer could implicate her in false cases. Interestingly, the Madhya Pradesh home minister had announced that the state would be the first state to treat all complaints as FIRs. However, "nothing has been done on my complaint," Ms Masood wrote in her letter.
Ms Masood's letter also had a note by the inspector general of police, Bhopal, that "legal action or departmental action may be taken as deemed fit."
Reacting to the news of the killing of Ms Masood, noted environment activist Sumaira Abdul Ali, said, "Activists are murdered every now and then. Despite making repeated assurances nothing has changed. The message is clear that the government doesn't mind such things. Shehla was very active in taking up environment issues, particularly mining, which is very risky and a lot of politicians have vested interests in it. It continues to flourish. It is also very clear that we are not safe."
Describing this as a sad incident, Mumbai-based activist Mukta Shrivastava said, "We don't know who is behind her killing. She was very much part of the anti-corruption movement. Her killing has once again raised the issue of safety of activists. In Maharashtra farmers protesting silently have been killed. It's an emergency-like situation and democracy is at stake. Such acts show the reality of state repression and the sorry state of affairs."
Ms Masood is the latest victim in the list of such attacks that also claimed the lives of whistleblowers and RTI activists Satyendra Dubey, Shanmughan Manjunath and Shashidhar Mishra.