The Delhi High Court on Wednesday made it clear that no further adjournment shall be granted on a petition by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren, who has challenged the proceedings initiated against him by the Lokpal on the basis of a complaint by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey. The high court’s observation came when a lawyer representing Soren sought adjournment on grounds that the filing advocate had some personal difficulties. The request for adjournment was opposed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Lokpal.
Noting the submissions, Justice Prathiba M Singh adjourned the matter but made it clear that “no further adjournment shall be granted”.
The high court listed the matter for further hearing on February 8, 2023 and said that interim order shall continue till then.
On September 12, the court had stayed the Lokpal proceedings while opining that the matter required consideration.
In the complaint made in August 2020, BJP leader Dubey has claimed that “Shibu Soren and his family members acquired huge wealth and properties by misusing the public exchequer and have been grossly indulged in corruption”.
The 75-year-old Soren has assailed Dubey’s complaint as well as the proceedings of the anti-corruption authority against him.
In his petition, Soren has claimed that the Lokpal could not have acted on the allegations made seven years after the alleged offence was committed and that it has wrongly granted extensions to the CBI to submit its preliminary report on the complaint.
He has also assailed the Lokpal order passed dated August 4 on initiation of proceedings to determine whether a prima facie case exists to proceed against him, claiming that it was passed without considering his preliminary objection on jurisdiction.
The Lokpal has opposed before the high court Soren’s petition saying the proceedings were being conducted as per the law and the complaint is still “open to adjudication” as “no final view has been formed” and it “cannot comment on the merit of the complaint at this stage”.
It has emphasised that its proceedings are not vitiated by illegalities and there is neither any abuse of the process of law nor any violation of the petitioner’s fundamental rights.
In a separate reply filed in relation to vacation of the stay order, the Lokpal has said the continuation of the interim relief would prejudice it and negatively impact the legislative intent behind the Lokpal Act.
On October 7, the court had asked Soren and the Lokpal to file its response to a plea by complainant Dubey seeking to vacate its earlier order staying the proceedings initiated by the Lokpal against the JMM leader.
ALSO READ: Delhi Govt’s Reply On Office Infrastructure For Prosecutors Is Evasive, Says Delhi High Court
In his petition filed through lawyers Pallavi Langar and Vaibhav Tomar, Soren has said the corruption complaint was “motivated by political vendetta” and in view of the provisions of the Lokpal Act, the authority cannot act on allegations made seven years after the alleged offence has been committed.
“The complaint is motivated by political vendetta and extraneous considerations, malafide, and designed to malign and harass the petitioner and his family members, who are members of the political party currently in power in the State of Jharkhand, and de-stabilise the state government in this process,” the plea has said.
“The respondent no. 1 (Lokpal) under the precincts of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 could not have taken cognisance of the complaint as the complaint itself records that save and except the properties… which admittedly belong to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (a registered political party), none of the properties were acquired within seven years of the date of the complaint. The allegations made against the petitioner in the complaint are ex facie malicious, false, baseless and frivolous,” it has claimed.
The petition added that these “illegalities and anomalies” vitiate the entire proceedings before the Lokpal and their continuance would be in gross abuse of the process of law and violate the fundamental rights guaranteed and protected under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)