21 Sep 2023 11:40 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Thursday (September 21) received a sealed cover report filed by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu in a petition which raised allegations regarding awarding of government tenders a decade ago.A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi also expressed its intention to seek assistance from the CAG(Comptroller and Auditor General of India)...
The Supreme Court on Thursday (September 21) received a sealed cover report filed by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu in a petition which raised allegations regarding awarding of government tenders a decade ago.
A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi also expressed its intention to seek assistance from the CAG(Comptroller and Auditor General of India) in the matter.
The bench was hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by an NGO named "Voluntary Arunachal Sena" which alleged that contracts were given by the state government of Arunachal Pradesh without floating any tender. The petitioner filed the petition in the Supreme Court in 2010 challenging a decision of the Gauhati High Court to dismiss a PIL filed in 2007. Dorjee Khandu, the Chief Minister during 2007-2011 term is a respondent in the petition in personal capacity. The petitioner added the incumbent Chief Minister Pema Khandu(son of Dorjee Khandu) as an additional respondent in his personal capacity later.
The Court observed in the order,“Senior Advocate Mr Vikas Singh- appearing for the present Chief Minister (Respondent No 11) has produced a report in a sealed envelope. We shall consider the content thereof and for this, we list the matter on 11th October.”
The Court also expressed its intention to seek assistance from the CAG(Comptroller and Auditor General of India).
Justice Aniruddh Bose orally remarked, “Our first endeavour is to find out from CAG. Without impleading him as a party, we just take the assistance of the CAG".
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner’s organization Voluntary Arunachal Sena, welcomed the move.
The bench clarified, “We just want to understand the matter.” Singh said that he will give a brief to the standing counsel of the CAG and will ensure the presence of the concerned law officer on the next date.
During the previous hearing, the bench had asked if it should go into the allegations which pertain to transactions carried out before 2010 at a belated stage. The petitioner's lawyer Prashant Bhushan argued that corruption should not be condoned citing passage of time.
In today's hearing, Justice Aniruddha Bose expressed the interest in understanding the norms and guidelines . “It may or may not be a case for police to investigate. We just want to know the norms. What are the norms in other states? Whether there is a guideline?", he said.
Singh replied, “The problem is that this is a unique state in that sense- the Northeast and accessibility etc. not many people ready to do a lot of work. So norms have to be state-wise. Every state has to have its special features, like Jammu and Kashmir.”
During the proceedings, Bhushan also raised concerns about threats faced by individuals associated with the case. He pleaded “We filed an application- in which he’s facing armed threats. There are armed people roaming around his house. He’s had to flee. In this case, 6 petitioners have been forced to withdraw. I think this really amounts to contempt.”
Justice Bose assured the parties that the Court was aware of these issues and that they would thoroughly review the report submitted to them.
The matter is next listed for hearing on 11th October 2023.
Case title: Voluntary Arunachal Sena v. State of Arunachal Pradesh, SLP(C) No. 034696 / 2010
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