Jharkhand HC to decide on Maintainability of PIL Against CM Soren


Roopa S

Published on: 02nd June, 2022 at 17: IST

The High Court of Jharkhand on Wednesday reserved its order on the point of maintainability of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a probe against Chief Minister Hemant Soren for alleged irregularities in the grant of mining leases and also on transactions of some shell companies purportedly operated by his family members and associates.

Disposing of a Special Leave Petition filed by the Jharkhand Government, the Apex court had heard the matter on May 24 and directed Jharkhand HC to first decide on the maintainability of the PIL before proceeding further as per law.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad concluded the hearing of the PIL filed by Shiv Shankar Sharma and will deliver the order on June 3.

The State government had moved to Supreme Court challenging the maintainability of the petition which was being heard by the High Court of Jharkhand.

Arguing on behalf of the State, former Union minister Kapil Sibal said that the Petition filed by Shiv Shankar Sharma is contrary to the provisions of the Jharkhand High Court Rules. And also, he demanded dismissal of the Petition that the petition was motivated and filed with ulterior motives by the Petitioner.

According to the PIL filed by an RTI activist Shiv Shankar Sharma, CM Soren and his brother Basant Soren invested black money through businessmen Ravi Kejriwal and several others in 28 small companies to get them converted into white money.

Sharma in his PIL also demanded probe by the CBI and ED into the shell companies which are being run in other states including Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate, however, stressed on CBI inquiry based on the facts found by the ED during the raids conducted by it in Jharkhand in connection with MNREGA scam.

The material collected shows involvement of people sitting on the top positions and the state government agencies won’t be able to conduct an inquiry, he said.

Mehta was also of the view that ‘the credentials of a Petitioner could be challenged, but a Petition can’t be dismissed just because of certain limitations on technicalities and PIL rules.’

Mehta stated that, the High court has enough power under Article 226 of the Constitution to even take Suo moto cognisance and order inquiry to ensure justice, even if the Petition is not as per rules.

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