Order in Sahara Birla pay-offs a blackmark on the reputation of Supreme Court, Prashant Bhushan

Criticizing the order passed by the Supreme Court today in the plea filed by NGO Common Cause seeking SIT probe into Sahara Birla pay-offs, Advocate Prashant Bhushan said that the order is very unfortunate and a set-back to the campaign against corruption.

He also termed the order a blackmark on the reputation of Supreme Court.

“This judgment is very unfortunate and is a set-back to the whole campaign against corruption and for probity in public life. It is also a black mark on the reputation of the Supreme Court which had recently distinguished itself by directing independent investigation into the coal scam and the 2G scam.”

Earlier today, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy had dismissed a plea by NGO Common Cause seeking SIT investigation into the Sahara Birla Pay-offs.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan had appeared for Common Cause along with Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan while Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had represented the Central government.

Bhushan also stated that the order will leave a cloud of suspicion over all the persons mentioned in the documents.

“Today’s judgment shows that though the Court has often said that law is equal for everyone and “be you ever so high the law is above you,” the Court has betrayed this precept in its judgment today. Supreme Court’s judgment today will leave the cloud of suspicion over all the persons mentioned in these documents.

That cloud could only have dissipated if there had been an independent investigation into the payoffs mentioned in these documents. It was therefore in the interest of those persons mentioned to have themselves sought investigation which would have cleared them if they were not guilty.”

According to Bhushan, it was an abdication of Constitutional responsibility  by the Supreme Court though he expressed hope that it would only be a temporary aberration.

“Unfortunately those in authority were hell-bent into stonewalling any investigation into this matter and even more unfortunately Supreme Court has also abdicated its constitutional responsibility for ensuring such investigation.

In the recent past, there have been several instances where the Supreme Court has struck a blow for the accountability of public servants and enhanced its reputation as the protector of rights and upholder of the constitution. Today unfortunately that reputation has been dealt a serious blow. I hope this is only a temporary aberration and the court will restore its reputation in the eyes of the people in time to come.”

Image of Shanti Bhushan taken from here