The Central Government has approached the Supreme Court against a direction issued by the Tripura High Court seeking the production of files relating to the security cover given to billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani and his family in Mumbai.
A vacation bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala agreed to list the matter tomorrow after an urgent mentioning was made by Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta.
Urging the bench to list the matter on urgent basis, SG submitted that the Tripura High Court had no territorial jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction over the matter.
He further submitted that the High Court by way of the interim order dated June 21, 2022 had directed the the Central Government to place the original file maintained by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regarding threat perception and assessment report in relation to Mukesh Ambani, his wife Nita Ambani and their children Akash, Anant and Isha, on the basis of which security has been granted to them.
The High Court directed that an officer from the MHA should appear before it with the relevant files in sealed cover tomorrow. The direction was passed in a PIL filed by an individual named Bikash Saha.
The SG also submitted that a similar PIL petition, with identical prayers, which was earlier filed before the Bombay High Court was dismissed by the High Court of Bombay and that the order was confirmed by the Top Court an SLP.
"It's central security. Tripura government has nothing to do. Individual security of 1 family cannot be the subject matter of PIL. The Court wants to see the threat perception. Order passed on 21st & we received the copy of 23. Court has said come tomorrow and no adjournment will be given," SG further submitted.
Acceding to SG's request, the bench said, "List this matter tomorrow."
Through the impugned orders, the High Court, apart from directing the Central Government to place the original file, had also directed the Central Government to depute a responsible officer to appear before the Court with the original record, in a sealed cover, on the next date of hearing i.e. 28.06.2022.
The High Court had further observed that 'no further adjournment shall be granted' in the matter.
The Central Government has argued in the petition that the impugned orders has been passed by the in a PIL filed by an individual person who had no locus in the matter and was just a meddlesome interloper, claiming himself to be a social activist and student by profession.
It was also contended in the plea that the very indulgence of the High Court to judicially review the decision of the Central Government to provide security cover to some of the respondents suffers from patent and manifest errors of law and is perverse requiring interference of this Hon'ble Court.
"Therefore, the territorial jurisdiction of the state of Tripura was completely alien to the subject matter of petition. However, despite the same the Hon'ble High Court has directed the production of the original file regarding the threat perception and assessment report of the said Respondents for access, when it had no territorial jurisdiction or any legal basis to make such an order. Therefore, the interim orders passed by the Hon'ble High Court are completely without jurisdiction and unsustainable in the eyes in law and thus liable to be set aside," the plea stated.
Case Title: Union of India v. Bikash Saha & Ors.