DHANANJAY MAHAPATRA IN THE TIMES OF INDIA
NEW DELHI: The Union government on Thursday decided to move Supreme Court seeking total recall of its stinging judgment taking over the probe into black money while accusing the government of probing the sensitive economic issue laggardly. Riled by the appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by a retired judge of the apex court, the Centre will on Friday file an application faulting the judgment on the ground that it amounted to the judiciary taking over the executive’s statutory functions and that the entire order be scrapped.
The application drafted by the finance ministry traces case laws to drive home the sanctity of separation of powers under the constitutional scheme and says the July 4 judgment by Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar violated the cardinal principle. The government will argue that the executive was not laggardly in its approach to tackle the black money issue as it had respected the court’s sentiments and constituted a high powered committee (HPC) to tackle the menace.
The court while adopting the members of the HPC in its SIT, had included the Director of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The Centre objected to this saying RAW Director had always been a “faceless and nameless person” given the sensitiveness of the post. “How can the RAW Director be included and made answerable to the retired Supreme Court Judge who heads the SIT?” the Centre asked.
The government also took objection to the stinging criticism in the first 20 paragraphs of the judgment authored by Justice Reddy appointing former Judges – Justices B P Jeevan Reddy and M B Shah – as chairman and vice-chairman of the SIT. It said the first 20 paragraphs have been written by the bench without any arguments being advanced by then solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam, who has since resigned. Subramaniam had faced flak in the ministerial circles for the adverse order.
The SC had on July 4 stunned the Centre by slamming it for lacking in vigour to probe black money and took over the probe by setting up multi-discipline SIT to investigate the crime in India and abroad as well as accused Hasan Ali Khan. It had directed the Centre to reveal names of Indian who stashed unaccounted money illegally in foreign banks provided they have been issued show cause notices by tax authorities after completing proceedings against them.
It also dismissed as bogey the government’s plea that the double taxation avoidance treaty between India and Germany prohibited revealing names of the 26 Indians who held accounts in Leichtenstein Bank. It had questioned the government’s wisdom in allowing UBS, allegedly the most favoured among Swiss banks for Indians to stash black money, to open retail banking outlet in India.
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