Former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan on Monday moved the Supreme Court against a Bombay high court decision dismissing his plea seeking recall of an earlier order, by which it had denied deletion of his name from list of accused in the multi-crore Adarsh housing society scam case.
A bench headed by justice J Chelameswar agreed to hear on April 24 the plea of the Congress leader against the HC order and asked Maharashtra's counsel to take an adjournment in the hearing before the trial court in the case.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid, former law minister and external affairs minister respectively, assailed the order of the high court against their party colleague Chavan.
"I have a problem with the impugned order. The special judge states that the congnizance of the offence (against Chavan) has not been taken. The high court states that the cognizance has been taken," Sibal said.
The HC's order that cognizance of the offence has already been taken is "erroneous" as for taking judicial note of the crime, a trial court "will have to issue process (summon)", Sibal said. He added that this was not done.
Sibal said a separate plea, challenging the constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, under which Chavan is also charged, is pending with the apex court on the ground that it can be invoked without the accused having "mens rea" (intention to commit an offence).
The plea challenging the validity of the PC Act provision was recently filed by Hindalco Industries Ltd in a coal block allocation case in which former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also made an accused. The apex court had later stayed the trial court proceedings in the matter.
The bench on Monday asked senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Maharashtra, to respond to the plea of Chavan.
Earlier, the HC had dismissed Chavan's appeal to recall an earlier order refusing to delete his name from the Adarsh Housing Society scam case.