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Graft cases: role of HCs in appointing special judges crucial, says SC
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 14
The Supreme Court today made it clear that the role of the high courts in the appointment of special judges to hold trial in corruption cases against public servants was important as only the high court has authority to grant power of jurisdiction to the designated judge to hear such cases.

This was stated by a Bench comprising Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice S.H. Kapadia during the hearing of the cases of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other SAD leaders, challenging their prosecution on the ground of “improper” sanction and appointment of special judge, Ropar to try all the corruption cases in the state without the approval of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The issue of appointing special judge, Ropar without High Court’s approval was argued in detail for hours with the counsel for almost all SAD leaders chargesheeted by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, questioning state government notification in this regard.

“The high court’s role in the appointment and posting of judges is more important, specially in the case of designated special judges. We are not speaking in the given case, it applies to all the states,” the Bench said.

The court said in this context it had earlier put questions to counsel representing the state how a particular judge could be given jurisdiction to the entire state. Senior advocate Arun Jaitley and former Punjab Advocate General H.S. Mattewal, appearing for some of the SAD leaders questioned the appointment of the special judge, Roper merely by an executive order and designating him the authority to hear cases registered in any district of Punjab, saying that it violated the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and other relevant laws governing appointment of special jduges.

Mr Jaitley said the high courts had to be very vigilant in these cases, otherwise the consequences would be that a political party in power to frame of its opponents in false cases, would ensure choosing the investigating agency of its choice, appoint a suitable judge and dilute the provision of sanction. “This will have dangerous consequences for smooth functioning of democracy and become a strong political weapon in the hands of political party in power,” Mr Jaitley said seeking clear order from the apex court to curb such tendencies in any state. Agreeing with him, the Bench observed that it certainly would have “wide ramifications”.



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