The Punjab and Haryana high court has put a 'virtual stay' on ongoing proceedings in the Chandigarh special CBI court in the Rs 15-lakh cash-at-judge's-door case in which former high court judge Nirmal Yadav is an accused.
The 'virtual stay' implies that since the high court has summoned entire record of the trial court, it is not possible to conduct further proceedings in the case in the lower court.
Significantly, the high court's intervention has come three days before the case's next hearing (September 16), when the CBI court was set to frame charges against Yadav under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
On Friday, justice Naresh Kumar Sanghi admitted the revision petition, filed by the former judge, challenging the decision of the special CBI court to frame charges against her. The court passed the orders for listing of the revision petition for final hearing within three months. The court said since the case "requires thorough consideration… lower (trial) court's record, complete in all respects, be requisitioned."
(Retired high court judge Nirmal Yadav coming out of district court in Chandigarh on Aug 27. HT File Photo)
Appearing for the accused judge, senior advocate SK Garg argued that when the Supreme Court could examine former law minister Ashwani Kumar's opinion in the coal scam, he (Garg) also wanted to examine then law minister's opinion given to then attorney general of India on the issue of granting prosecution sanction in the present case.
The special CBI court, in its July 31 order, had ordered framing of charges against justice Yadav, advocate Sanjiv Bansal, Ravinder Singh, Rajiv Gupta and Nirmal Singh.
The former judge had also sought directions for staying further proceedings of the case before the court of the special CBI judge as the CBI court was likely to frame charges on the next date of hearing, which is on September 16.
Meanwhile, in a press statement, senior advocate and CBI's special public prosecutor in the case Anupam Gupta said on Friday, "I am deeply distressed by the high court's order passed today. It betrays insensitivity to judicial corruption that cannot be viewed with equanimity.
The high court cannot have a dual approach or standard - one for the judges and another for all other accused. Would the high court have passed this order if the principal accused had not been a former high court judge?"
Rs 15-lakh parcel
In August 2008, a parcel containing Rs 15 lakh, allegedly meant for justice Nirmal Yadav 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. The President had granted her prosecution sanction on March 1, 2011, two days before she retired from the Uttarakhand high court.