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SIT probe into Black Money
Centre objects to SC order, says it can’t sideline Parliament, Executive 
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 17
Raising as many as 10 objections, the government has blamed the Supreme Court for “completely eliminating” the roles of the Executive and the Parliament in dealing with the black money problem by ordering setting up of a 13-member Special Investigation Team headed by former apex court judges - BP Jeevan Reddy and MB Shah -- as chairman and vice-chairman.

The order, passed on July 4 by a Bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and SS Nijjar, “has the effect of completely eliminating the role and denuding the constitutional responsibility of the Executive which itself is answerable to Parliament,” the government contended in a petition.

Thus, the order “directly interferes with the functions and obligations of the Executive” and since the SIT had been asked to report directly to the apex court, it had also effectively excluded the “Executive, and consequently Parliament also,” the government maintained in the petition, seeking recall/modification of the apex court directive.

Therefore, the Supreme Court order “is without jurisdiction in as much as it impinges upon and goes contrary to the legally well-established Doctrine of Separation of Powers. It is contrary to the settled legal principle that the function of the court is to see that Lawful Authority is duly exercised by the Executive, but not to take over itself the tasks entrusted to the Executive”.

Further, the directive had impinged upon the well-settled principle that courts did not interfere with economic policy, which was in the domain of the Executive and that it was not the function of the court to sit in judgment over matters of economic policy, which must necessarily be left to expert bodies.

Further, discussions of economic theories and the wide-ranging criticism of the State in the order “is uncalled for, unjustified and made without any discussion in court or material thereof,” the government argued.

The government has also raised questions on the validity of the order on the principles of natural justice. “The said orders proceed on submissions and comments made against entities and persons who are not even parties to the writ petition, apart from the same being contrary to material on record and are thus, contrary to principles of natural justice.”

It has further contended that the judiciary could not scrutinise agreements signed with other countries. The Supreme Court had directed the government to disclose the names of persons and other details relating to black money despite the argument that doing so was against the commitments given under such treaties. “The order in so far as it purports to subject the treaty making powers of the Sovereign Countries to judicial review impinges upon the legal and constitutional principles that such treaties are not subject to judicial review of courts,” the petition said.

The government also maintained that the court had presumed that then Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium had made certain arguments. “To the extent, the order proceeds on admission, concessions, statements and acknowledgements attributed to the counsel appearing for the Union of India, it is humbly and respectfully pointed out that such concessions, statements, admissions and acknowledgements do not appear to have been made and, therefore, the order proceeds on an incorrect factual basis.”





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