J’khand seeks urgent SC hearing on maintainability of plea for probe against CM

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New Delhi:  The Jharkhand government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking urgent listing of its petition challenging a high court order accepting the maintainability of a plea seeking a probe against Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

The plea sought a probe into alleged irregularities in the granting of mining leases and also into the transactions of some shell companies allegedly operated by his family members and associates.

On June 3, the Jharkhand High Court had said it was of the considered opinion that the writ petitions cannot be thrown away on the ground of maintainability and it will proceed to hear the matters on merit.

The state government told a vacation bench of Justices A S Bopanna and Vikram Nath that there is urgency. Despite being informed that a special leave petition (SLP) has been filed in the apex court challenging the June 3 order, the Jharkhand High Court has listed the matter for hearing on June 17, it said.

The bench told senior advocate Arunabh Chowdhury, who mentioned the matter on behalf of the state, to give details about the petition to the registrar so the apex court registry can take orders from the office of the chief justice about its listing.

You just give the details. They (registry) will take orders, the bench said.

It observed that there are two vacation benches sitting at present and the chief justice would take a call about listing of the matter.

When Chowdhury told the bench that the high court has listed the matter for hearing on June 17 despite being informed about filing of the petition in the apex court, the bench said, Tell this to the registry.

In its June 3 order, a division bench of the high court had said, This court, after having answered the issue, as framed by this court, and on the basis of discussions made hereinabove, is summing up its view and is of the considered opinion that the writ petitions cannot be thrown away on the ground of maintainability.”

Before that, on May 24, the apex court had asked the high court to first hear the preliminary objections on the maintainability of the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a probe in the matter.

“The issue of maintainability should be dealt with by the high court on the next date of listing when the proceedings are taken up. Based on the outcome of the objections to the maintainability of the proceedings, the high court may thereafter proceed in accordance with law,” the apex court had said.

It had passed the May 24 order on the petition filed by the state against two orders of the high court in the matter.

The top court had also made clear that it has not made any observation with regard to the merit of the case and has not dealt with the allegations levelled in the petition.

It had noted that three PILs have been filed before the high court seeking investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the allegations of corruption, misuse of office and money laundering against the chief minister.

Soren has denied the allegations levelled against him.

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