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Time to remind politicians that institutions like RBI, CBI are not their puppets, says Bombay HC

The bench was hearing a petition filed by NDTV, seeking an order prohibiting the ED from proceeding with adjudication proceedings against it.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2018 12:21 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,politicians
Bombay high court.(HT File Photo)

The Bombay high court on Tuesday said time has come to remind politicians not to create an impression that vital institutions -- regulatory bodies like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and law enforcement agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) -- are puppets in their hands.

“If they are looked upon as guardians of citizens’ rights, then it is time that those in power and in opposition realise that they should not act in such a manner which gives the public at large an impression that these institutions are nothing but puppets in the hands of politicians,” said the division bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice Bharati Dangre.

“The agencies like the RBI etc., are also pillars of our democracy,” said the bench, adding, “The earlier we realise that in their meaningful existence lies our safety and our legal rights, the better it would be.”

The bench was hearing a petition filed by New Delhi Television (NDTV) Limited seeking orders prohibiting ED from proceeding with the adjudication proceedings initiated against it. The proceedings were initiated for purported violations of provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) after the investigations into the 2G Spectrum scam revealed that certain tainted funds had been allegedly routed through a group entity.

Maintaining that it had not committed any violations, NDTV Limited had also challenged RBI’s decision to return its application for compounding. Allowing the petition, the court directed RBI to complete the compounding proceedings in accordance with the law.

The bench took serious note of arguments advanced by senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas on behalf of the petitioner company that, “position and status of statutory authorities and high functionaries like the RBI, ED and CBI were being undermined and compromised.”

The bench, however, disagreed with the senior advocate saying the material available on record did not lead to the inference that the authorities acted on orders of their political masters in NDTV’s case.

It, however, found it “extremely distressing” to note that parties like the petitioner company doubted the independence and impartiality of these institutions.

First Published: Jun 27, 2018 12:21 IST