Hearing on recall of apex court’s black money order Aug 24

August 16th, 2011 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday fixed Aug 24 for hearing the central government’s plea for recall of a part of its July 4 order that set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the black money stashed away in tax havens abroad.

The government moved a fresh application modifying its earlier plea and restricting it to the recall of that part of the July 4 order by which the high-level committee set up by it was converted into the SIT.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice S.S. Nijjar said that Aug 24 it would hear preliminary arguments on the maintainability of the application.

The plea said that the apex court could not pass orders “which have the affect of completely eliminating the role and the constitutional functions of the executive”.

The application said that the order by “super imposing two retired judges on the said committee and re-constituting it as a special investigation team, not only interferes with the policy decision of the government but also impinges upon the doctrine of separation of powers”.

It said that the apex court’s July 4 direction constituting the SIT was without jurisdiction since “the constitution of the high level committee is within the realm of a decision on policy matters”.

The mandate of the committee was to oversee and coordinate between various agencies of the government and to strengthen the actions initiated, the application said.

Senior counsel Anil Divan and Rajiv Dhawan appeared for the petitioners in the case, including jurist Ram Jethmalani on whose petitions the July 4 judgment and order were pronounced, and opposed the government’s plea.

They questioned the application on the grounds of its maintainability. Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati countered them and said that he was ready to defend the application.

The government July 15 sought the recall and suspension of the court’s July 4 order but today it moved another application restricting its prayer to the recall of that portion of the order that set up the SIT to probe money laundering.

The court July 4 order converted the high level committee, under the stewardship of union revenue secretary, into the SIT with former judge B.P. Jeevan Reddy as its chairman and former judge M.B. Shah the deputy chairman to monitor the investigations.

The government, while seeking the recall of the order, said that the impugned judgment had not evaluated steps taken by the central government in unearthing black money stashed away in tax havens.

It said that the judgment did not take into account the several international treaties signed by India, including the double taxation avoidance agreements, to facilitate information on black money.

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