SC stays Gauhati High Court order declaring CBI unconstitutional

SupremeCourtAccording to sources, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati was asked to personally supervise the filing of the SLP in the Supreme Court.

In a relief to the Centre, the Supreme Court on Saturday stayed the November 6 judgment of the Gauhati High Court declaring the CBI as unconstitutional, observing that the accused in two "sensational cases" have sought stay of their trial on the basis of that judgment.

Posting the matter for further hearing on December 6, the Bench of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Desai, which held a special sitting at the residence of the CJI, also issued notice to petitioner Navendra Kumar on whose plea the Gauhati HC had passed the judgment.

Earlier in the day, Kumar's lawyer filed a caveat requesting the court not to pass any order without first hearing him. Since the CJI was attending a function organised to mark the National Legal Services Day, the matter was fixed for hearing in the evening.

During the hearing, Kumar's counsel questioned the locus standi of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to challenge the HC verdict. However, the court refused to accept this argument and proceeded to hear the matter, with Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati appearing for the Centre.

In its petition, the Centre contended that the HC's order would adversely impact thousands of criminal cases pending across the country. Making out a case for urgent hearing, the Centre said the judgment "directly impacts about nine thousand trials currently underway and about one thousand investigations which are being undertaken by the CBI". The petition also said that if the HC order was not stayed, "it will frustrate the law machinery and may result in multiplicity of proceedings."

The Centre noted that the "order is already being seized upon by various accused persons in various proceedings in the country to seek a stay of further proceedings against them."

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