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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 08, 2013
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday reserved its judgment on a petition filed by former high court judge Nirmal Yadav, challenging Chandigarh special CBI court's orders denying her photocopies of her prosecution sanction record. The court headed by justice Paramjeet Singh reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments for around one-and-a-half hours.

Justice Yadav (retd), the main accused in the 2008 cash-at-judge's-door case, had filed the revision petition against the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court's order of February 2. "All accused and their counsel are at liberty to inspect the record and prepare notes either in hand or through stenographer," the CBI court had said.

During the hearing on Tuesday, CBI's special public prosecutor Anupam Gupta argued, "The documents (asked by petitioner) are not appended with the chargesheet. Otherwise I would have never objected. Only because the petitioner had held the high judicial office, the law should not be altered for her."

He further contended, "These are not the documents which we (CBI) had collected. Even we don't have these documents….I have also inspected the record in the judicial complex and taken down notes….Let her (petitioner) come there along with her entire team of counsels any number of times to inspect the record….Otherwise also she does not come to the court on one pretext or the other. Though now she has been exempted."

However countering CBI's arguments, petitioner's counsel SK Garg submitted, "This is not a confidential record and never claimed by the CBI or the Supreme Court registrar…This is very voluminous record. When I can inspect the record, what prejudice would it cause if I am given the copies of the record….Fair trial and justice is the constitutional right." He further added that when the trial court was going to consider the record for the trial of the case, the petitioner was entitled to the photocopies of the record.

Arguing on the question of prosecution sanction, Gupta submitted, "This is most comprehensive application of mind at the highest level by the prime minister's office, President's office and chief justice of India's office."

Putting forward the point that the CBI had been more than fair with the petitioner, Gupta submitted, "There is a long line of Supreme Court judgments which clear that once an accused no longer holds the office which he has abused, no prosecution sanction is required. In this case, chargesheet was filed when she (petitioner) had retired. But I don't want to raise this argument at this stage."

The judgment is expected to be pronounced on May 13.

THE CASE
The case had come to fore in August 2008, when a parcel containing Rs. 15 lakh - allegedly meant for justice Nirmal Yadav (retd) of the Punjab and Haryana high court - had been handed over to justice Nirmaljit Kaur. On November 11, 2010, the high court had given the nod for justice Yadav's prosecution. On March 1, 2011, the President had granted her prosecution sanction.