The Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised former prime minister HD Deve Gowda for trying to influence judges by sending them booklets alleging corruption in the Rs.75 billion (Rs.750 crore) Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.
A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat expressed the displeasure while hearing a plea by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), the corridor project promoter.
The plea seeks Supreme Court directions on scrapping a Karnataka High Court order to the state Ombudsman to probe Deve Gowda's allegation against the NICE.
The high court had ordered the probe on the basis of the booklets and letters sent by Deve Gowda to it.
But the apex court bench, which also included Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, sounded least amused by the letters.
"I had also received those letters but I have not read them. I have better things to read," said Justice Pasayat.
"We disapprove of the people writing letters to judges on pending matters," said the bench adding: "It was really unfortunate."
"We may commit mistakes. If our judgement is wrong, we may also be criticised. But we cannot be influenced," said Justice Pasayat.
"If you are tying to do this, it's contemptuous," Justice Pasayat said, referring to the letters and booklets sent by Deve Gowda.
The bench also heard another petition by the NICE seeking launch of the contempt to court proceedings against seven state government officials who allegedly derailed the project and foiled its implementation despite an April 2006 order by the apex court to execute the project in the way it was originally conceived in 1997.
The project involves construction of exprerssway between Banglore and Mysore with the provision to real estate along the expressway. But the previous state government allegedly derailed the project on the allegation that NICE was concentrating more on development of real estates.
Appearing for the state government, Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati said the new government was committed to develop the project as per its original plan.
Vahanvati, however, told the court that the state government would restrict the total area of the project to only 20,193 acres, of which 7,084 acres of land has already been given to the NICE after acquisition by the government.
The bench adjourned the matter for further hearing in the third week of April.