7 Sep 2023 11:53 AM GMT
Tamil Nadu Minister K. Ponmudi and the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on Thursday requested Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court to recuse himself from hearing the suo moto revision against District court order acquitting the Higher Education Minister in a disproportionate assets case. Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra appearing for DVAC said...
Tamil Nadu Minister K. Ponmudi and the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on Thursday requested Justice Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court to recuse himself from hearing the suo moto revision against District court order acquitting the Higher Education Minister in a disproportionate assets case.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra appearing for DVAC said Justice Venkatesh had "predetermined" the issues, without hearing both the parties. "If your lordships observations are predetermined, then that becomes final. Can revisional jurisdiction do that without hearing the parties?” Luthra submitted.
Senior Advocate NR Elango appearing for the Minister made similar submissions.
Justice Venkatesh had raised doubts about the manner in which District Judge Vellore had acquitted Ponmudi and his wife, wondering how a judge could marshal the evidence of 172 prosecution witnesses and 381 documents and write a 226-page judgment within 4 days.
As per the Judge, the case was transferred to the District Judge Vellore from District Judge at Villupuram "at the fag end of the trial".
It is referring to these observations that Luthra submitted, “The observations in the order have predetermined an issue which could be done only after having been posted for hearing...My question is can Lordship have done that without considering the contours of Section 401(2) CrPC? It is for your lordship to determine whether you wish to continue with the matter or not. But our request would be that in the fitness of things, justice must seem to be done..."
Section 401 deals with High Court’s powers of revision and sub-section (2) thereof states no order under this section shall be made to the prejudice of the accused or other person unless he has had an opportunity of being heard either personally or by pleader in his own defence.
Luthra added that the materials that were considered by the court for taking suo moto cognizance were not supplied to the parties, and in its absence, it would not be possible to answer the allegations. He added that since the judge had also strongly criticised the administrative order of the High Court, it was necessary that the High Court registry be made a party to the proceedings.
Justice Venkatesh said he'll take a decision on this within a week and adjourned the hearing.
Case Title: Suo Moto RC v. Vigilance and Anti Corruption wing