An Allahabad High Court bench on Tuesday held it has jurisdiction to hear and decide on three PILs, challenging dropping of charges against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and her cabinet colleague Naseemuddin Siddiqui in the multi-crore Taj corridor case.
The order was passed by a division bench, comprising Justice Abdul Mateen and Justice YK Sanghal, on three different PILs, seeking to quash the June 2007 order of a special CBI court, whereby the criminal proceedings against Mayawati and Siddiqui had been dropped for want of the governor's sanction for their prosecution.
The court had yesterday heard and reserved its order on the issue whether it was competent to hear and decide the PILs.
Pronouncing its order the bench ruled, "We are of the considered view that this bench has got jurisdiction to hear and decide these writ petitions." The court directed listing of all the three PILs for hearing on January 4.
"It needs to be mentioned that the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court... has been pleased to direct that PIL (criminal) will be heard by a bench consisting one of us," the court observed.
It said that a bench consisting of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shabihul Hasnain had observed in the concluding part of the order dated September 23, 2010 that the writ petition should be listed before the regular bench.
The court stated this order was passed by the said bench on the application moved by Anupama Singh for withdrawal of the writ petition and the matter was not heard on merits by said bench.
On behalf of the petitioners it has been emphasised that the Chief Justice could not bifurcate the PILs in two categories -- PIL (civil) and PIL (criminal)
Secondly, the petitioners submitted that bifurcation made by the Chief Justice in order dated August 28, 2010, these petitions could not be heard by a bench, except the one which was hearing the matter earlier.
The court, while referring to a ruling of the Supreme Court, observed the chief justice has got every power with respect to allocation of work, roster and benches.