Decks for prosecution of former high court judge Nirmal Yadav have been cleared as the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed her petition seeking quashing of her prosecution sanction by President of India on March 1, in the cash-at-judge's door case of 2008.
In his 57 pages judgment, justice Permod Kohli made it clear that at no earier stage the file was produced before the then chief justice of India(CJI), KG Balakrishnan and the sanctioning authority(President) and the present CJI SH Kapadia examined the prosecution sanction case for the first time.
"Since there was no earlier refusal, there was no occasion for review or reconsideration," remarked justice Kohli.
Appearing for justice Yadav, senior advocate KTS Tulsi had submitted that the President of India on March 1 gave the sanction for her prosecution without there being any fresh material placed before the competent authority by the CBI, requiring review of the earlier order of declining such sanction in December 2009.
Accepting one of the arguments raised by CBI's special public prosecutor Anupam Gupta, justice Kohli negated the letter dated December 7, 2009 written by DR Meena, the then secretary of department of legal affairs. The letter mentions that in the context of reference made by Department of Personnel and Training(DoPT) for a fresh reference to the attorney general, the matter was discussed by minster for law and justice with the then CJI, who had observed that "no action was required at present".
Justice Kohli remarked that oral discussion has no sanctity in the eyes of law and the consultation should have been in written.
Rejecting justice Yadav's contention at this stage, of disclosure of "unspecified government documents and files", the bench said, "the plea of the petitioner is not only unwarranted, but unreasonable and irrational too." Justice Kohli ordered that trial court cannot be circumvented and if the trial court after framing of charges feels that the "specified" documents should be supplied to the petitioner, it can do so.
Gupta had strongly argued that justice Yadav could not use the high court to bypass the process of regular criminal trial before the trial court, where she could otherwise obtain the record by exercising the rights of an accused.
The bench also held that the then attorney general's opinion where he had opined that there was not a shred of evidence against justice Yadav is irrelevant and cannot be placed before the trial court with the chargesheet in view of the judgment in the Taj Corridor case.
The case had made headlines, when a parcel containing Rs 15 lakh had been handed over to justice Nirmaljit Kaur of Punjab and Haryana high court allegedly meant for justice(retd) Nirmal Yadav, by Prakash Ram a clerk of Sanjiv Bansal, former additional advocate general, Haryana.
The Chandigarh Police had registered an FIR on August 16, 2008 under the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 120-B of IPC. Later, the probe was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI).