I.A. No. 13/2014 and Crl. M.P. No. 387/2015 in Writ Petition (C) No. 463/2012. Case: Common Cause and Ors. Vs Union of India (UOI) and Ors.. Supreme Court

Case Number:I.A. No. 13/2014 and Crl. M.P. No. 387/2015 in Writ Petition (C) No. 463/2012
Party Name:Common Cause and Ors. Vs Union of India (UOI) and Ors.
Judges:Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Arjan Kumar Sikri, JJ.
Issue:Delhi Special Police Establishment Act; Contempt of Courts Act, 1971; Official Secrets Act, 1923; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Section 195; Constitution of India - Articles 20, 21
Judgement Date:May 14, 2015
Court:Supreme Court


Madan B. Lokur, J.

  1. The prayer in IA No. 13/2014 filed by Common Cause and Ors. is two-fold:

    (1) Direct Mr. Ranjit Sinha, Director CBI, not to interfere in the coal block allocation case investigations and prosecutions being carried out by the CBI and to recuse himself from these cases.

    (2) Direct an SIT appointed by the Hon'ble Court to investigate the abuse of authority committed by the CBI Director in order to scuttle inquires, investigations and prosecutions being carried out by the CBI in coal block allocation cases and other important cases.

  2. In so far as the first prayer is concerned, since Mr. Ranjit Sinha, the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (for short the CBI) has admittedly superannuated on or about 2nd December, 2014 the question of his recusal from investigations and prosecutions being carried out by the CBI in respect of cases arising out of what is now commonly known as the Coal Block Allocations case has become infructuous. We are, therefore, concerned only with the second prayer in the application.

  3. The prayer in Crl. MP No. 387/2015 filed by Mr. Ranjit Sinha is as follows:

    1. Direct the concerned Police Station to register an FIR against Mr. Prashant Bhushan, the Petitioner Association (i.e. Common Cause) and Mr. Kamal Kant Jaswal for making deliberate and intentional false statements on oath and before this Hon'ble Court in these proceedings,

    2. Pass other or further orders as may be deemed fit and proper.

  4. We propose to consider both these applications since we have heard submissions on them.

  5. It is not necessary to go into the detailed background of the case since all the facts are on record in the judgment delivered by this Court in Manohar Lal Sharma v. Principal Secretary and Ors. (2014) 2 SCC 532 Nevertheless, some facts are necessary for the purposes of a decision on these applications.

  6. During the course of hearing of the writ petition on 24th January, 2013 and in response to a query made by this Court, a statement was made by the learned Additional Solicitor General that on the next date of hearing, the status of the investigations (into the allotment of coal blocks) shall be made known to this Court through an affidavit filed by a competent authority. The case was then adjourned to 12th March, 2013.

  7. Pursuant to the statement made by the learned Additional Solicitor General, a status report was filed by the CBI on 8th March, 2013 in a sealed cover. This status report was perused on 12th March, 2013 and upon a consideration of the entire matter, this Court required an affidavit to be filed by the Director, CBI that the status report submitted was vetted by him and nothing therein has been shared with the political executive. He was also required to state on affidavit that the same procedure would be followed in respect of subsequent status reports that may be filed in this Court. The status report was then re-sealed and the case adjourned to 30th April, 2013.

  8. Acting on the above order, the Director, CBI filed the requisite affidavit on 26th April, 2013. When the case was taken up on 30th April, 2013 the affidavit filed by the Director, CBI was perused and this Court was of the view that the following aspects needed to be clarified by the Director, CBI:

    (i) As to why in the status report dated 08.03.2013 no disclosure was made to this Court that the draft report has been shared with the political executive and officials.

    (ii) What was the basis and reasons for the C.B.I. in making the statement on 12.03.2013 through its counsel (Additional Solicitor General) before this Court that the status report dated 08.03.2013 has not been shared with any one and it is meant only for the Court.

    (iii) In the affidavit now filed by the Director, C.B.I. on April 26, 2013 it is stated that the draft of the status report dated March 8, 2013 was shared with the Minister of Law & Justice as desired by him prior to its submission before this Court and it was also shared with Joint Secretary level officers each of the Prime Minister's Officer and Ministry of Coal as desired by them but nothing has been said in the affidavit whether or not changes were made in the draft report and, if yes, at whose instance and the extent of changes and whether besides the three persons mentioned in para 4 of the affidavit, the draft report was shared with any other person in that meeting.

    (iv) The names of the two officers one each of the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Coal referred to in para 4 of the affidavit.

    (v) xxx

    (vi) xxx

  9. It was directed that an affidavit giving the above information may be filed by the Director, CBI by 6th May, 2013 and the case was then adjourned to 8th May, 2013. As required, the Director, CBI filed a further affidavit in this regard on 6th May, 2013.

  10. When the case was taken up on 8th May, 2013 Mr. Prashant Bhushan learned Counsel for Common Cause made his submissions. Keeping the submissions in mind it was directed that the Director, CBI shall henceforth ensure the secrecy of inquiries and investigations into the allocation of coal blocks and that no access of any nature whatsoever is provided to any person or authority including any Minister of the Central Cabinet, Law Officers, Advocates of the CBI, Director of Prosecution and Officials/Officers of the Central Government.

  11. It is in the background of the above broad facts relating to the secrecy (and purity) of the investigations that IA No. 13/2014 appears to have been moved by Common Cause with some additional facts having come to its notice after the aforesaid orders were passed by this Court.

    Pleadings and documents

  12. Apart from stating a few relevant facts in the application, what is of immediate concern is the averment made in paragraph 9 of the application that Common Cause has come to know that Mr. Ranjit Sinha, Director, CBI had met several persons at his residence who are...

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