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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2G Spectrum case.=whether two orders passed by this Court on 11.04.2011 and 09.11.2012 in Civil Appeal No.10660 of 2010, in exercise of powers conferred on this Court under Articles 136 and 142 of the Constitution of India, while monitoring the investigation of 2G related cases, are liable to be recalled, de hors the rights guaranteed to the Petitioners to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under Articles 32 and 136 of the Constitution of India, if aggrieved by the orders passed by the Special Court dealing with 2G Spectrum case.= No Court, other than the Court seized with the trial, has the power to monitor the proceedings pending before it. Order dated 11.4.2011 only facilitates the progress of the trial by ordering that the trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis. Large backlog of cases in the Courts is often an incentive to the litigants to misuse of Court’s system by indulging in unnecessary and fraudulent litigation, thereby delaying the entire trial process. Criminal justice system’s procedure guarantees and elaborateness sometimes give, create openings for abusive, dilatory tactics and confer unfair advantage on better heeled litigants to cause delay to their advantage. Longer the trial, witnesses will be unavailable, memories will fade and evidence will be stale. Taking into consideration all those aspects, this Court felt that it is in the larger public interest that the trial of 2G Scam be not hampered. Further, when larger public interest is involved, it is the bounden duty of all, including the accused persons, who are presumed to be innocent, until proven guilty, to co-operate with the progress of the trial. Early disposal of the trial is also to their advantage, so that their innocence could be proved, rather than remain enmeshed in criminal trial for years and unable to get on with their lives and business. 29. We fail to see how the principle laid down by this Court in A.R. Antulay’s case (supra) would apply to the facts of these cases. We have found no error in the orders passed by this Court on 11.04.2011 or on 09.04.2012. Therefore, the question of rectifying any error does not arise. On the other hand, as we have already indicated, the purpose and object of passing those orders was for a larger public interest and for speedy trial, that too on day-to-day basis which has been reflected not only in the various provisions of the PC Act, 1988 but also falls within the realm of judicial accountability. 30. We also find no reason to lay down any guidelines as prayed for by the petitioners in a Court monitored investigation. In a Court monitored investigation, as already pointed out the Court is not expected to interfere with the trial proceedings. The conduct of the trial is the business of the trial judge and not the court monitoring the investigation. A superior court exercising the appellate power or constitutional power, if gives a direction to conduct the trial on day-to-day basis or complete the trial in a specific time by giving direction is not interfering with the trial proceedings but only facilitating the speedy trial, which is a facet of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. That being the factual situation in these cases, the principle laid down by this Court in Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lalan” VI and another v. Union of India and others (2006) 1 SCC 356, Brij Narain Singh v. Adya Prasad (2008) 11 SCC 558 and Ankul Chandra Pradhan (supra), are not applicable. 31. We, therefore, find no good reason either to frame guidelines to be followed by a constitutional court in relation to monitoring of criminal investigation or any legal infirmity in the orders passed by this Court on 11.04.2011 or 09.04.2012. Writ Petitions lack merits and they are accordingly dismissed, so also IA Nos.59, 61, 63 and 68 in Civil Appeal No.10660 of 2010.

                          published in         http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40716                           
   REPORTABLE



                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                      WRIT PETITION (C) NO.548 OF 2012


Shahid Balwa                                       …Petitioner

                                   Versus

Union of India and others                                …Respondents

                                    With

           WRIT PETITION (C) NO.550, 551, 552 OF 2012, 17 of 2013,
                                     and
                        I.A. Nos.59, 61, 63 and 68 IN
                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.10660 OF 2010



      J U D G M E N T


K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.


1.     We are, in these cases, called upon to examine the  question
whether
two orders passed by this  Court  on  11.04.2011  and  09.11.2012  in  Civil
Appeal No.10660 of 2010, in exercise  of  powers  conferred  on  this  Court
under Articles 136 and 142 of the Constitution of  India,  while  monitoring
the investigation of 2G related cases, are liable to be  recalled,  de  hors
the rights guaranteed to the Petitioners to invoke the jurisdiction of  this
Court under Articles 32 and 136 of the Constitution of India,  if  aggrieved
by the orders passed by the Special Court dealing with 2G Spectrum case.


2.    Civil Appeal No.10660 of 2010, in  which  the  above-mentioned  orders
have been passed, was filed under Article 136 of the Constitution  of  India
by special leave,  praying  for  a  Court  monitored  investigation  by  the
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or by  a  Special  Investigating  Team
into what was described as the 2G Spectrum Scam and also for a direction  to
investigate the role  played  by  A.  Raja,  the  then  Union  Minister  for
Department of Telecommunications (DoT), senior officers of  DoT,  middlemen,
businessmen and others.  Before this Court, it was pointed out that the  CBI
had lodged a first information report on  21.10.2009  alleging  that  during
the years 2000-2008 certain officials of the DoT  entered  into  a  criminal
conspiracy  with  certain  private  companies  and  misused  their  official
position in the grant of Unified Access Licenses causing  wrongful  loss  to
the nation, which was estimated to be more than  Rs.22,000  crores.     CBI,
following that, registered a case  No.RC-DAI-2009-A-0045(2G  Spectrum  Case)
on 21.10.2009 under Section 120B IPC, 13(1)(d)  of  the  PC  Act  against  a
former Cabinet Minister and others.


3.     Before  this  Court  parties  produced  large  number  of  documents,
including the Performance Audit Report (Draft and  Final)  prepared  by  the
Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on the issue of  licence  and
allocation  of  2G  Spectrum  by  DoT,  Ministry   of   Communications   and
Information and Technology for  the  period  from  2003-2004  to  2009-2010.
Report of the CAG, was submitted to the President of India, as  per  Article
151 of the Constitution of India.  The Central  Vigilance  Commission  (CVC)
also conducted an inquiry  under  Section  8(d)  of  the  Central  Vigilance
Commission Act, 2003 and  noticed  grave  irregularities  in  the  grant  of
licences.  The CVC on 12.10.2009 had forwarded the  enquiry  report  to  the
Director, CBI to investigate into  the  matter  to  establish  the  criminal
conspiracy in the allocation of 2G Spectrum under UASL policy of DoT and  to
bring to book all wrongdoers.


4.    After taking into consideration of all those  factors,  including  the
report of the CVC as well as the findings recorded by the  CAG,  this  Court
agreed for a Court monitored investigation and held as follows:


      “We are, prima facie, satisfied that the allegations contained in  the
      writ petition and the affidavits filed before this  Court,  which  are
      supported not only by the documents produced by  them,  but  also  the
      report of the Central Vigilance Commission, which was forwarded to the
      Director, CBI on 12.10.2009 and the findings recorded by  the  CAG  in
      the  Performance  Audit  Report,  need  a   thorough   and   impartial
      investigation.   However,  at  this  stage,  we  do  not  consider  it
      necessary to appoint a Special Team to investigate what the appellants
      have described as 2G Spectrum Scam because  the  Government  of  India
      has, keeping in view the law laid down in  Vineet  Narain’s  case  and
      others  passed  in  other  cases,  agreed  for   a   Court   monitored
      investigation.”


5.    This Court, with a view to ensure  a  comprehensive  and  co-ordinated
investigation  by  the  CBI  and  the  Enforcement  Directorate,  gave   the
following directions vide its order dated 16.12.2010:
           i)    The CBI shall conduct thorough investigation into  various
              issues high-lighted in the report of  the  Central  Vigilance
              Commission, which was forwarded to  the  director,  CBI  vide
              letter dated 12.10.2009 and the report of the CAG,  who  have
              prima facie found serious  irregularities  in  the  grant  of
              licences to 122 applicants, majority of whom are said  to  be
              ineligible, the blatant violation of the terms and conditions
              of licences and huge loss to  the  public  exchequer  running
              into several thousand crores.  The CBI should also probe  how
              licences  were  granted  to  large   number   of   ineligible
              applicants and who was responsible for the same and  why  the
              TRAI and the DoT did not take action against those  licensees
              who sold their stake/equities for many  thousand  crores  and
              also against those who failed to fulfill rollout  obligations
              and comply with other conditions of licence.
          ii)     The CBI shall conduct  the  investigation  without  being
              influenced by any functionary, agency or  instrumentality  of
              the State and irrespective of the position, rank or status of
              the person to be investigated/probed.
         iii)    The CBI shall, if it  has  already  not  registered  first
              information  report   in   the   context   of   the   alleged
              irregularities committed in the grant of licences  from  2001
              to 2006-2007,  now  register  a  case  and  conduct  thorough
              investigation with particular emphasis on the loss caused  to
              the  public  exchequer  and   corresponding   gain   to   the
              licensees/service providers and also on the issue of allowing
              use of dual/alternate technology by  some  service  providers
              even before the decision was made public vide  press  release
              dated 19.10.2007.
          iv)    The CBI shall also make investigation into the  allegation
              of grant of huge loans by the public sector and  other  banks
              to some of the companies which have  succeeded  in  obtaining
              licences in 2008 and find out whether the officers of the DoT
              were signatories  to  the  loan  agreement  executed  by  the
              private companies and if so, why and  with  whose  permission
              they did so.
           v)    The Directorate of Enforcement/ concerned agencies of  the
              Income Tax  Department  shall  continue  their  investigation
              without any hindrance or interference by any one.
          vi)    Both the agencies, i.e. the CBI  and  the  Directorate  of
              Enforcement shall  share  information  with  each  other  and
              ensure that the investigation is not hampered in  any  manner
              whatsoever.
         vii)    The Director General, Income  Tax  (Investigation)  shall,
              after completion  of  analysis  of  the  transcripts  of  the
              recording made pursuant to the approval accorded by the  Home
              Secretary, Government of India, hand over the same to CBI  to
              facilitate  further  investigation  into  the   FIR   already
              registered or which may be registered hereinafter.”

6.    CBI and the Enforcement Directorate then used to  apprise  this  Court
of the various stages  of  investigation  and  this  Court,  on  10.02.2011,
passed  an  order  stating  that  since  this  Court   is   monitoring   the
investigation of 2G Spectrum Scam no court shall pass any order  which  may,
in any manner, impede the investigation being carried out  by  the  CBI  and
the Directorate of Enforcement.


7.    Learned Attorney General of India, it was pointed out, had written  to
the Law Minister on the issue of creation  of  separate  Special  Court  for
dealing with the cases relating to 2G Scam and, for the  said  purpose,  the
Law Minister, in turn, had written to the Chief Justice of  the  Delhi  High
Court seeking nomination of a Special Court for the said  purpose.   Learned
Attorney  General  submitted  before  this  Court  on  16.03.2011  that  the
Registrar General of the High Court of Delhi had conveyed  its  decision  to
nominate Shri O.P. Saini, an officer of the Delhi Higher  Judicial  Service,
as the Special Judge to take up the trial of  cases  relating  to  what  has
been described as 2G Scam.  The Court was also informed  that  two  separate
notifications would be issued by the Central Government in terms of  Section
3(1) the PC  Act,  1988  and  Section  43(1)  of  the  Prevention  of  Money
Laundering Act, 2002 for establishment of the Special Court  to  exclusively
try the offences relating to 2G Scam and other related offences.   Following
that, two notifications dated 28.03.2011 were published in  the  Gazette  of
India Extraordinary on Monday, the 28th March, 2011.


8.    The CBI submitted before this Court on 01.04.2011 that a  notification
had been issued under Section 6 of the Delhi  Police  Establishment  Act  by
the State Government for entrusting the case  relating  to  death  of  Sadiq
Batcha to the CBI and the CBI had indicated that  it  had  no  objection  to
take up the investigation.  The CBI also submitted before this Court that  a
Special Public Prosecutor had to be appointed  to  lead  and  supervise  the
prosecution of the case relating to the  2G  Scam  for  which  the  CBI  had
suggested the name of Shri U.U. Lalit, senior advocate of this Court.


9.    The CBI, after completion of  the  investigation  in  the  main  case,
noticed the commission of various other offences during  2007-09  punishable
under Sections 120-B, 420, 468, 471 of  IPC  against  the  accused  persons,
namely, Shri A. Raja and others and the following substantive offences  were
stated to have been made out against the following accused persons:
      “a)  Sh. A. Raja, then MOC&IT – the offence punishable u/s  420,  468,
      471 IPC & 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) PC Act, 1988.


      b)   Sh. Siddartha Behura, then Secretary, Department of Telecom-  the
      offence punishable u/w 420 IPC & 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) PC Act, 1988.


      c)  Sh. R.K. Chandolia, then PS to MOC&IT- the offence punishable  u/s
      420 IPC & 13(2) r/w 13(1)(d) PC Act.


      d)    Sh. Shahid Usman Balwa, Director, M/s Swan  Telecom  Pvt.  Ltd.;
      Sh. Vinod Goenka, Director, M/s Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd.  and  M/s  Swan
      Telecom Pvt. Ltd. (now M/s Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt. Ltd)  through  its
      Director – offences punishable u/s 420/468/471 IPC.


      e)    Sh. Sanjay Chandra, Managing Director, M/s Unitech Ltd. and  M/s
      Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt. Ltd. through its Director –offences
      punishable u/s 420 IPC.


      f)   Sh. Gautam Doshi, Group Managing Director,  Reliance  ADA  Group,
      Sh. Hari Nair, Senior Vice President  of  Reliance  ADA  Group  &  Sh.
      Surendra Pipara, Senior Vice President of Reliance  ADA  Group  &  M/s
      Reliance Telecom Ltd. through its Director – offences punishable under
      section 109 r/w 420 IPC.”


10.   The CBI, on the basis of  the  investigation  conducted,  submitted  a
charge-sheet against the above-mentioned persons/companies before a  Special
Judge on 02.04.2011 and Special  Judge  took  cognizance  of  the  aforesaid
offences on the same day.

11.   This Court undertook the monitoring of the investigation  in  view  of
the prayers made by the appellants and the request made by  the  prosecution
agency and the Government of India,  having  regard  to  the  larger  public
interest involved and the necessity of a proper investigation and also  with
the ultimate object of unearthing the crime.

12.   Counsel appearing for the CBI suggested to this Court,  on  11.4.2011,
the name of Shri U.U.  Lalit,  senior  advocate,  for  the  conduct  of  the
criminal prosecution in the case on  behalf  of  the  CBI  as  well  as  the
Directorate of Enforcement and the Court on that date inter alia ordered  as
follows:
      “We also make it clear that any objection about appointment of Special
      Public Prosecutor or his assistant advocates or any prayer for staying
      or impeding the progress of the Trial can be  made  only  before  this
      Court and no other Court shall entertain the  same.   The  trial  must
      proceed on a day-to-day basis.


      All these directions are given by this Court in exercise of its  power
      under Article 136 read with Article 142 of the Constitution and in the
      interest of holding a fair prosecution of the case.”


13.   We found, in spite of the order passed by  this  Court  on  11.04.2011
that no Court should entertain  any  prayer  for  staying  or  impeding  the
progress of the trial, large  number  of  writ  petitions  were  seen  filed
before the Delhi High Court praying for stay of  the  trial  proceedings  on
one or the other ground.  The CBI noticing that entertaining of those  cases
would violate the order  passed  by  this  Court  on  11.04.2011,  filed  an
application before this Court for summoning the  records  of  Writ  Petition
(Criminal) No.1587 of 2012, Writ Petition (Criminal) No.1588 of  2012,  Writ
Petition (Criminal) No.913 of  2012,  Writ  Petition  (Criminal)  No.111  of
2012, Writ Petition (Criminal) No.207  of  2012,  Writ  Petition  (Criminal)
No.1478 of 2012, Writ Petition (Criminal) No.1751  of  2012,  Writ  Petition
(Criminal) No. 1752 of 2012, Writ Petition  (Criminal)  No.  1754  of  2012,
Writ Petition (Criminal) No.206 of 2012, Writ Petition  (Criminal)  No.  159
of 2012, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 208 of 2012, Criminal  M.C.  No.  4197
of 2011, Criminal M.C. No.67 of 2012, Writ  Petition  (Criminal)  No.129  of
2012, Writ Petition (Criminal) No.656 of  2012,  Criminal  M.C.  No.4199  of
2011, Writ Petition (Criminal) No.467 of 2012 and Criminal M.C.  No.1060  of
2012 pending before the Delhi High Court and also prayed  for  stay  of  all
the proceedings of these cases.


14.   This Court felt entertaining those cases by the Delhi High  Court,  at
this stage, would violate the order  passed  by  this  Court  on  11.4.2011,
passed an order on 09.11.2012 staying those proceedings pending  before  the
Delhi High Court.


15.   Shri  Ram  Jethmalani,  learned  senior  counsel,  appearing  for  the
petitioner in Writ Petition (C) No.548 of 2012, prayed for recalling  orders
dated 11.04.2011 and 09.11.2012  on  the  ground  that  those  orders  would
violate the rights guaranteed to the petitioners under Section  482  of  the
Cr.P.C. and Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution  of  India  for  moving
the High Court.     Learned senior counsel also submitted  that  remedy,  if
at all, available under Article 32 is limited  to  safeguarding  the  rights
guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution while the  remedies  available
under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution have  a  wider  scope,  which
cannot be taken away by the impugned  orders  passed  by  this  Court  while
monitoring the 2G Scam.


16.   Learned senior counsel also submitted that the  impugned  orders  have
the effect of taking away the power of  the  Court  in  granting  reasonable
adjournments under Section 309 of the Cr.P.C.  and  submitted  neither  sub-
section (4) of Section 4 nor Section 19(3) of the PC Act can take away  that
right of  the  petitioners,  but  has  been  effectively  curtailed  by  the
impugned  orders  passed  by  this  Court.   Learned  senior  counsel   also
submitted that this Court exercising powers under Articles 136  and  142  of
the Constitution, has the power to only monitor the investigation  and  once
the investigation is over  and  charge-sheet  has  been  filed,  this  Court
should leave the matter to  the  trial  court  safeguarding  the  rights  of
parties in questioning the correctness or otherwise of the orders passed  by
the trial Court in appropriate Forums.  Reference was made to  the  decision
of this Court in Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ (VIII) and Another v.  Union  of
India and others (2006) 6 SCC 613 and Vineet Narain and Others v.  Union  of
India and Another (1996) 2 SCC 199.


17.   Shri Mukul Rohtagi, learned senior counsel, submitted  that  right  to
fair trial is a right guaranteed to the parties under Articles 14 and 21  of
the Constitution of India and the impugned order has the effect of  negating
those rights by shutting out all remedies available  to  the  parties  under
Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India to move  the  High  Court.
Learned senior counsel placed reliance on the  Judgment  of  this  Court  in
A.R. Antulay v. R.S. Nayak and another (1988) 2 SCC 602 and  submitted  that
in appropriate cases this Court has got the  power  to  recall  its  earlier
order in the interest of justice, if it is  satisfied  that  its  directions
will result in the deprivation  of  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  to  the
citizens or any other legal rights.  Placing reliance  on  the  Judgment  of
this Court in L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India and  others  (1997)  3  SCC
261 and Shalini Shyam Shetty and another v. Rajendra Shankar Patil (2010)  8
SCC 600, learned senior counsel submitted that the  rights  conferred  under
Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India are  the  basic  structure
of the Constitution and the same cannot be taken away by  exercising  powers
under Article 136 and 142 of the Constitution of India.


18.   Shri Harish Salve, learned senior counsel, submitted  that  the  power
of the Court to monitor the criminal  investigation  should  stop  once  the
charge-sheet has been filed, leaving the trial court to proceed  with  trial
in accordance with the law.   In support  of  his  contention  reliance  was
placed on the Judgment of this Court in Jakia Nasim Ahesan  and  another  v.
State of Gujarat and others (2011) 12 SCC 302  and  the  Judgment  in  Ankul
Chandra Pradhan v. Union of India and others (1996) 6 SCC 354.


19.   Shri K.K. Venugopal, learned senior counsel  appearing  for  the  CBI,
submitted that there are no justifiable reasons for recalling  the  impugned
orders since those orders had been passed in the larger public interest  and
that too based on the request made by  the  Government  of  India  virtually
inviting  this  Court’s  intervention  for  monitoring   the   investigation
relating to 2G Scam.    Learned senior counsel referred to  the  CAG  report
as well as the report sent by the CVC to the CBI and  submitted  that  those
reports would highlight  the  magnitude  of  loss  suffered  by  the  public
exchequer, which has been revealed by the  investigation  conducted  by  the
CBI.  Learned senior counsel also submitted that this Court  has  undertaken
monitoring of the investigation due to  the  involvement  of  highly  placed
officers of DoT and the then Union Minister for Telecommunications,  Members
of Parliament, bureaucrats and businessmen.


20.   Learned senior counsel also submitted that this Court,  while  issuing
the orders dated 11.04.2011 or 09.11.2012, has neither interfered  with  the
proceedings pending before the Special Court, nor attempted to supervise  or
investigate the trial proceedings.  On  the  other  hand,  this  Court  only
ensured that the progress of the trial be not impeded and the  trial  should
go on day-to-day basis.  Learned senior counsel  also  submitted  that  this
Court has reserved its powers to entertain any challenge against the  orders
passed by the Special Judge under Articles 136, 32 as well  as  Article  142
of the Constitution and hence, no prejudice is caused to the petitioners.

21.   We may, at the very  outset,  point  out  that  CBI  as  well  as  the
Enforcement Directorate is yet to complete the investigation  of  the  cases
relating to 2G Scam and the case which is being tried by the  Special  Judge
is only one among them, wherein the charge-sheet  has  been  filed  and  the
trial is in progress.  This Court, taking into consideration the  width  and
ambit of the investigation  which  even  spreads  overseas  and  the  larger
public interest involved, passed the orders impugned,  reserving  the  right
of all, including the accused persons, to move this Court  if  their  prayer
would amount to staying or impeding the progress  of  the  trial.   In  case
they have any grievance against the  orders  passed  by  the  Special  Judge
during trial, they are free to approach this Court so that the  progress  of
the trial would  not  be  hampered  by  indulging  in  cumbersome  and  time
consuming  proceedings  in  the  other  Forums,  thereby   stultifying   the
preemptory direction given by this Court for day-to-day trial.

22.    Article 136 read with  Article  142  of  the  Constitution  of  India
enables this Court to pass  such  orders,  which  are  necessary  for  doing
complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it and, any order  so
made, shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.   Parties,  in
such a case, cannot invoke the jurisdiction under Articles  226  or  227  of
the Constitution of India or under Section 482 Cr.P.C. so  as  to  interfere
with those orders passed by this Court, in exercise  of  its  constitutional
powers  conferred  under  Article  136  read  with  Article   142   of   the
Constitution of India.  Or, else, the parties will move Courts  inferior  to
this Court under Article 226 or Article 227 of the Constitution of India  or
Section 482 Cr.P.C., so as to defeat the very  purpose  and  object  of  the
various orders passed by this Court in  exercise  of  its  powers  conferred
under Article 136 read with Article 142 of the Constitution of India.

PUBLIC INTEREST:
23.   Public Interest compelled this Court to take up the  investigation  in
2G related cases in exercise of its  powers  under  Article  136  read  with
Article 142, that too, on a request made by the Central Government.  CAG  is
stated to be the most important Officer under the Constitution of India  and
his duty, being the guardian of the public Purse,  is  to  see  that  not  a
farthing of it is spent without the authority of  the  Parliament.   Article
149 of the Constitution of India empowers the CAG  to  perform  such  duties
and exercise such powers in relation to the accounts of the  Union  and  the
State and Audit plays an important  role  in  the  scheme  of  Parliamentary
Financial Control  and  it  is  also  directed  towards  discovering  waste,
extravagance and disallow any expenditure  violating  the  Constitution,  or
any Law.  CAG, in its report submitted  to  the  President  of  India  under
Article 151 of the Constitution of India, has commented upon the  manner  in
which the Unified Access Licences were granted and projected that it  caused
wrongful loss to the Government to the tune  of  Rs.1.76  lac  crore.     Of
course, some acrimony had erupted between the  Central  Government  and  the
CAG’s estimate of loss, but it is reported to  be  substantial.    CVC  also
conducted an enquiry under Section 8(d) of the Central Vigilance  Act,  2003
and noticed  grave  irregularities  in  the  grant  of  licences.   CVC,  on
12.10.2009,  had  forwarded  the  enquiry  report  to  that  effect  to  the
Directorate of CBI.

24.   The nation and the people of  this  country  are  seriously  concerned
with the outcome  of  cases  involving  larger  public  interest,  like  one
concerning 2G and this Court, as the guardian of the Constitution,  has  got
the duty and obligation to see that  the  larger  public  interest  and  the
interest of the nation is  preserved  and  protected.   When  larger  public
interest is involved, it is the responsibility of the  Constitutional  Court
to assure judicial legitimacy and accountability.   Public interest  demands
timely resolution of  cases  relating  to  2G  Scam.   Prolonged  litigation
undermines the public confidence and weakens the democracy and rule of  law.


25.   The Parliament, in its wisdom,  has  also  noticed  the  necessity  of
early disposal of cases relating to bribery and  corruption.   Section  4(4)
of the  Prevention  of  Corruption  Act,  1988  reflects  the  will  of  the
Parliament that a Special Judge shall hold the trial of an offence  on  day-
to-day basis, notwithstanding anything contained in  the  Code  of  Criminal
Procedure. Section  19(3)(c)  also  states  that,  notwithstanding  anything
contained in the Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,  no  Court  shall  stay  the
proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act on any other  ground  and
no Court shall exercise the powers  of  the  revision  in  relation  to  any
interlocutory  order  passed  in  any  inquiry,  trial,  appeal   or   other
proceedings.   Statutory  provisions  highlight  the  imperative   need   to
eradicate the evils of  bribery  and  corruption.   Larger  public  interest
should have precedence over the prayers of the petitioners, especially  when
this Court has safeguarded their rights and given freedom to  them  to  move
this Court, either under Article 136 or Article 32 of  the  Constitution  of
India.   Article 139A  also  reflects  the  larger  public  interest,  which
enables this Court to  transfer  certain  cases  which  involve  substantial
questions of law, from one High Court to another or to this Court,  in  such
an event, it cannot be contended that the  parties  are  deprived  of  their
rights to adjudicate their grievances under Articles  226,  227  or  Section
482 Cr.P.C., before the High Court.

COURT MONITORED INVESTIGATION

26.   Monitoring of criminal investigation is the function of  investigating
agency and not that of the Court – either of the superior Court  or  of  the
trial Court.  But  unsolved  crimes,  unsuccessful  prosecution,  unpunished
offenders and wrongful convictions bring  our  criminal  justice  system  in
disrepute.  Crores and crores of  tax  payers’  money  is  being  spent  for
investigating crimes in our country since every such  incident  is  a  crime
against the society. When the persons involved in the crime wield  political
power  and  influence,  the  possibility  of   putting   pressure   on   the
investigating agency, which is no more independent in our country,  is  much
more.  Common people will be left with the feeling that they  can  get  away
with any crime which tarnish the image not only of the investigating  agency
but judicial system as well.  Once  investigation  fails,  Court  will  face
with a fait accompli. Proper and uninfluenced investigation is necessary  to
bring about the truth.   Truth  will  be  a  casualty  if  investigation  is
derailed due to external pressure and guilty gets away from the clutches  of
law.


27.   More and more demands  are  now  coming  before  the  Courts  for  its
monitoring of investigation relating  to  crimes  committed  by  influential
persons and persons who have  political  influence,  with  the  apprehension
that they  could  derail  the  investigation.   Courts  in  public  interest
sometime have to take such a course in the  larger  public  interest.   That
burden this Court has discharged in  various  cases  like  Vineet  Narayan’s
case and Gujarat Communal Riot’s  case,  etc.   This  Court  has  taken  the
consistent view that once charge-sheet is submitted  in  the  proper  Court,
the process of Court monitoring investigation comes to an end and it is  for
that Court to take cognizance of the  offence  and  deal  with  the  matter.
But, so far as the present case is  concerned,  we  have  already  indicated
that charge-sheet has been filed only in one among the  various  2G  related
cases.  This Court, while passing the impugned order, only  directed  speedy
trial and, that too, on  a  day-to-day  basis  which  cannot  be  termed  as
interference with the trial proceedings.

28.    We  also,  therefore,  find  no  basis  in  the  contention  of   the
petitioners that the orders dated 11.4.2011 and 9.11.2012  have  the  effect
of monitoring the trial proceedings.
No Court, other than the Court  seized
with the trial, has the power to monitor the proceedings pending before  it.
 Order dated 11.4.2011  only  facilitates  the  progress  of  the  trial  by
ordering that the trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis.   Large  backlog
of cases in the Courts is often an incentive to the litigants to  misuse  of
Court’s system  by  indulging  in  unnecessary  and  fraudulent  litigation,
thereby delaying  the  entire  trial  process.   Criminal  justice  system’s
procedure guarantees and elaborateness sometimes give, create  openings  for
abusive, dilatory tactics and  confer  unfair  advantage  on  better  heeled
litigants to cause delay to their advantage.   Longer the  trial,  witnesses
will be  unavailable,  memories  will  fade  and  evidence  will  be  stale.
Taking into consideration all those aspects, this Court felt that it  is  in
the larger public interest that the  trial  of  2G  Scam  be  not  hampered.
Further, when larger public interest is involved, it is the bounden duty  of
all, including the accused persons, who are presumed to be  innocent,  until
proven guilty,  to  co-operate  with  the  progress  of  the  trial.   Early
disposal of the trial is also to their advantage, so  that  their  innocence
could be proved, rather than remain enmeshed in  criminal  trial  for  years
and unable to get on with their lives and business.


29.   We fail to see how the principle laid  down  by  this  Court  in  A.R.
Antulay’s case (supra) would apply to the facts of  these  cases.   We  have
found no error in the orders passed  by  this  Court  on  11.04.2011  or  on
09.04.2012.  Therefore, the  question  of  rectifying  any  error  does  not
arise.  On the other hand, as we have already  indicated,  the  purpose  and
object of passing those orders was for a  larger  public  interest  and  for
speedy trial, that too on day-to-day basis  which  has  been  reflected  not
only in the various provisions of the PC Act, 1988  but  also  falls  within
the realm of judicial accountability.


30.   We also find no reason to lay down any guidelines  as  prayed  for  by
the petitioners in a Court monitored investigation.  In  a  Court  monitored
investigation,  as  already  pointed  out  the  Court  is  not  expected  to
interfere with the trial proceedings.  The  conduct  of  the  trial  is  the
business of the trial judge and not the court monitoring the  investigation.
 A superior court exercising the appellate power  or  constitutional  power,
if gives a direction to conduct the trial on day-to-day  basis  or  complete
the trial in a specific time by giving direction  is  not  interfering  with
the trial proceedings but only facilitating the speedy  trial,  which  is  a
facet of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.  That  being  the  factual
situation in these cases, the principle laid down by  this  Court  in  Rajiv
Ranjan Singh “Lalan” VI and another v. Union of India and  others  (2006)  1
SCC 356, Brij Narain Singh v. Adya  Prasad  (2008)  11  SCC  558  and  Ankul
Chandra Pradhan (supra), are not applicable.

31.   We, therefore, find no good reason either to frame  guidelines  to  be
followed by a constitutional court in relation  to  monitoring  of  criminal
investigation or any legal infirmity in the orders passed by this  Court  on
11.04.2011  or  09.04.2012.   Writ  Petitions  lack  merits  and  they   are
accordingly dismissed, so also IA Nos.59, 61, 63  and  68  in  Civil  Appeal
No.10660 of 2010.




                                                                …………………………J.
                               (G.S. Singhvi)






                                                                …………………………J.
                                                        (K.S. Radhakrishnan)


New Delhi,
September 3, 2013

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