A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Friday gave a split verdict on the maintainability of government’s application seeking recall of the apex court order on constitution of an SIT to probe blackmoney cases.
The order was passed by a bench comprising justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar on the Centre’s plea for recall of the court’s 4th July decision.
While justice Kabir pronounced his verdict in favour of the government, saying the Centre’s plea was maintainable, Justice Nijjar refused to hear the application, saying it is not maintainable.In view of the split verdict, the bench referred the matter to the Chief Justice for constitution of a larger bench to decide the maintainability of the Centre’s plea.
The apex court had on 4th July recast the high-level committee, formed by the Centre earlier to track blackmoney stashed away abroad, by setting up a Special Investigation Team and making ex-apex court judges B P Jeevan Reddy and M B Shah as its chairman and vice-chairman respectively.
The others in the 13-member SIT are directors of CBI, Intelligence Bureau, Enforcement Directorate, Chairman of CBDT, Director General of Revenue Intelligence, Director General of Narcotics Control, Director of Foreign Intelligence Office (FIO) and Joint Secretary of Foreign Trade, besides the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Director.
The apex court had recast the Centre’s high-level committee expressing dissatisfaction over the pace of its functioning and saying the money stashed away reveal a degree of “softness of the State”.
The Centre subsequently moved the apex court, seeking recall of its order.
But the apex court, before going into the merits of the Centre’s application, had agreed to adjudicate whether it is maintainable as senior advocate Ram Jethmalani and others questioned its maintainability.
The Centre had in its recall application contended that the SIT was formed without being prayed for.
It has also questioned the Court’s remarks that probe into the issue of black money stashed abroad was moving at a “laggardly pace”.
During an earlier hearing, the Centre had also told the bench that the SIT set up by the apex court to probe and unearth black money needs to be scrapped as the investigating agency cannot function like a “super power.”