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Supreme Court Asks SAD Leader Bikram Singh Majithia To Approach High Court For Quashing Of FIR & Seeking Bail

Shruti Kakkar
10 May 2022 1:37 PM GMT
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted liberty to SAD Leader Bikram Singh Majithia to approach the Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court against quashing of FIR registered against him in NDPS case and for grant of bail.

Majithia had also sought an alternative prayer for entrusting the investigation to the Special Investigation team, but while refusing to grant such relief, the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha in their order said,

"The main relief which has been sought in these proceedings for the quashing of FIR dated Dec 20, 2021 u/s 25, 27A and 29 of NDPS Act registered at PS Punjab. There is an alternative prayer for entrusting the investigation to the Special Investigation Team. We are not inclined to entertain the petition under art 32 since the petitioner has the alternative remedy under sec 482 r/w art 226. Petitioner has liberty to pursue the remedy before the High Court. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal has submitted that in terms of order dated March 17, 2017 similar directions may be issued so as to enable the petitioner to seek recourse for the remedy of bail. Relevant part of the order is extracted below.

In view of the above order of this course we follow the same course of action and grant liberty to the petitioner to move the DB of HC for all relief for quashing of FIR & Grant of bail. We clarify that we have not expressed an opinion on the merits of the case. Petition is accordingly disposed of. It will be open to the state to raise all defenses including the same on grounds of maintainability."

What Transpired In Supreme Court Today

Appearing for Majithia, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal commenced his arguments by apprising the bench with regards to the facts of the case.

He further submitted that the Government had registered FIR against Majithia in the NDPS case based on the statements of the accused which were recorded u/s 50 of the PMLA in FIR which was registered in 2013.

In this regards, he submitted that,

"In 2013, May 15 FIR 56 of 2013 is registered and 10 days later on 25th March ECIR was registered. There are 3 accused in this case, their statements are recorded under sec 50 of PMLA. That investigation continues and that is over. There is a statement by ED that there is nothing more to investigate and the complaints are filed. As far as predicate offense is concerned, that trial is also over. Parlty accused convicted, partly acquitted."

He further said, "On 7/10/2015 my lord passed an order that we need to look into the drug thing in punja and a Special Task Force is set up and one Mr Sidhu who is a cousin of the accused who is in Jail. What happens is that a Special Task Force is formed and it also looks into the matter & files report in sealed cover. When STF is formed Sec 50 Statements of PMLA are given. Then the court sends it back to the government and sees what you can do. Govt sets up High Powered Committee and High Powered Committee & sends reports in sealed cover. 2 proceedings going on. 1 before the Division Bench and the other before the Single Bench. In the PIL 2017 government changes and then an application is made saying that give us sec 50 statements so that we can do something about it. They take Sec 50 statements and they register another FIR."

He further contended that the writ raised 2 questions of law, they being:

  • Can Section 50 statement ever be used in predicate offense
  • Division Bench is already seized of the matter, has the report and has not taken any action

"Why Writ Petition under 32 here?" Justice Chandrachud asked at this juncture.

"Single judge has taken a view of the matter and now the matter is already with the Division Bench," responded Sibal.

Remarking that the same would go to Division Bench, the judge further expressed an inclination to permit Majithia to pursue his remedies under article 226 of the Constitution r/w Section 482 of CrPC, 1973.

"Why should we entertain this petition and you have your full remedies? Can you not seek relief before the HC of Punj & Haryana? We'll permit you to pursue your remedies before the HC. You can pursue u/s 482, Art 226," remarked Justice Chandrachud.

Accordingly the bench while disposing the plea, granted liberty to Majithia to approach the Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court against quashing of FIR registered against him in NDPS case and for grant of bail.

Background

The bench headed by CJI NV Ramana on February 2, 2022 had protected Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia from arrest in a drug case till February 23, taking note of the fact that the Punjab assembly elections are going to take place on February 20. The Court granted this relief to allow Majithia to do election campaigning.

A Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli directed Majithia to surrender before the concerned Court on February 23 seeking regular bail.

Majithia was granted protection by the Supreme Court against the January 24 order of a single bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which refused him pre-arrest bail in connection with an NDPS case registered against him.

It may be noted that on January 10, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had granted him interim protection from arrest in Drugs Case on the condition that he shall co-operate in the police probe. The Bench of Justice Lisa Gillhad granted him interim protection while dealing with his anticipatory bail plea in a case registered against him by the Punjab Police last month under Sections 25 (allowing premises etc to be used for commission of an offence under the Act), 27A (financing illicit traffic and harboring offenders), and 29 (abetment and criminal conspiracy) of the Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

Case Title: Bikram Singh Majithia v The State of Punjab| WP(Crl) 124/2022

Click Here To Read/Download Order


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