The Supreme Court on Saturday stayed a Gauhati high court order that held the CBI unconstitutional, saying accused in two sensational cases sought halting of trials on the basis of the HC judgment.
Former telecom minister A Raja, an accused in the 2G spectrum scam, and 1984 riots accused Sajjan Kumar had on Friday attempted to use the HC verdict to stay legal proceedings against them.
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The apex order came after the Union government sought an urgent hearing on Saturday, contending the Gauhati HC order would adversely impact thousands of criminal cases pending across the country.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and justice Ranjana Prakash Desai while staying the high court order after a 19-minute-long hearing at the former's residence on Saturday evening said: "We have to stay the order. You have read today's (Saturday's) newspapers. Two people accused in sensational cases are seeking stay of their trial. What will happen?"
The court observation came as counsel LS Chaudhary appearing for Narendra Kumar sought the dismissal of the petition as it was being filed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which was not a party to the proceedings before the high court.
The court said: "We can't dismiss it... CBI too is filing a petition challenging the high court order. We are not rejecting your objections. You file your objections. Your objections will be considered at an appropriate time."
"We want to know whether you read today's newspapers. Within a day, two of the accused in sensational cases they prayed for stay of the trial," the court told Chaudhary.
The order came after attorney general GE Vahanvati faulted the high court verdict, saying the court "asked wrong questions, preceded on wrong premises and gave wrong answers".
Earlier, the special leave petition settled by Vahanvati before the hearing said, "If the impugned order is not stayed, it will frustrate the law machinery and may result in multiplicity of proceedings."
A division bench of Gauhati high court had on November 6 quashed the April 1, 1963 resolution constituting CBI under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and declared all its actions unconstitutional.
The government had sought an urgent hearing against the HC verdict saying it "directly impacts about nine thousand trials currently underway and about one thousand investigations which are being undertaken by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)."
"The order is already being seized upon by various accused persons in various proceedings in the country to seek a stay of further proceedings against them," the petition said.
While staying the high court order, the apex court issued notice to Narendra Kumar on whose petition the high court pronounced its verdict. The notice has also gone to the home ministry and the CBI. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for December 6.
(With inputs from agencies)
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