PIL in HC against Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren: SC refuses to interfere

SUPREME COURT on Friday refused to interfere with the proceedings before Jharkhand High Court in a PIL seeking probe against Chief Minister Hemant Soren over allegations of irregularities in allotting mining leases and money laundering.

A vacation bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and Hima Kohli was of the view that it would not want to examine the matter piecemeal and that the High Court should decide it first.

Subsequently, at the request of Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the state, it agreed to list the plea challenging the High Court order holding the petition as maintainable, for hearing when the apex court reopens after summer recess.

Rohatgi pointed out that the High Court has PIL rules – framed as per Supreme Court directions – and they say petitioner’s credentials must be looked into before admitting PILs. But in the present case, the High Court had not ascertained the credentials of PIL petitioner Shiv Shankar Sharma, a businessman, he contended.

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But Justice Maheshwari said, “You can raise this point also. At present, let the HC decide… We are leaving it open… We are not going to entertain it piecemeal Mr Rohatgi.” The senior counsel, however, said, “These are politically motivated petitions. The damage will be done. That is the idea of this man.”
He urged the court to examine it or post it upon reopening of the court.

Rohatgi pointed out that another bench of the Supreme Court had on May 24 asked the high Court to first decide on the maintainability of the PIL before going into its merits. Justice Kohli said, “The HC has decided the question.”

“But if it is decided wrongly…,” argued Rohatgi.

“That is your grievance. You are entitled to raise the grievance. We are only wondering. Should it be fine piecemeal or not,” said Justice Kohli.

“These are politically motivated cases. The damage will be done. This is only to destabilise the government. There is nothing else in this case,” Rohatgi reiterated. “The HC is hearing it on a day-to-day basis all through the vacation. I don’t know what is the urgency.”

The bench finally listed the plea for hearing upon reopening of the court.

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