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'We Have To Respect Humanity' : Bombay High Court Asks If ED Summons To Anand Grover Can Be Deferred In Case Against Lawyers Collective

Nitish Kashyap
24 Nov 2020 8:01 AM GMT
We Have To Respect Humanity : Bombay High Court Asks If ED Summons To Anand Grover Can Be Deferred In Case Against Lawyers Collective
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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Assistant Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate to take instructions on whether the summons issued to Senior Advocate Anand Grover to appear before them on November 26 can be deferred.A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik was hearing the writ petitions filed by 'Lawyers Collective' and...

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Assistant Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate to take instructions on whether the summons issued to Senior Advocate Anand Grover to appear before them on November 26 can be deferred.

A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik was hearing the writ petitions filed by 'Lawyers Collective' and its founder-trustee Anand Grover challenging the summons issued to them by ED in the Prevention of Money Laundering Case against the NGO which is known for its work in the field of human rights.

Senior Advocates Amit Desai, Aspi Chinoy and Siddharth Luthra appeared on behalf of the Lawyers Collective and Anand Grover.

Senior Advocate Amit Desai began by stating that summons have been issued by ED to Anand Grover to appear on November 26 and sought the summons to be deferred for now.

Appearing on behalf of ED, Asst Solicitor General Anil Singh argued that since the summons are slated for November 26, the matter can be taken up tomorrow and there is no need to defer the summons.

Noting that Anand Grover recovered from COVID-19 recently, Justice Shinde observed-

"Mr.Singh ultimately we have to respect the humanity involved and we have to respect their age also. We have respect for your proceedings as well. So take instructions whether the summons can be deferred."

The matter was adjourned and will be taken up for hearing tomorrow at 4 pm.

ED issued fresh summons to the petitioners on November 6 and the present petition was filed thereafter. The petition states-

"The current PMLA proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to the Lawyers Collective, and the ECIR (impugned ECIR) is based entirely on the predicate FIR, and there is no new material with the respondents whatsoever."

The ED case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act came after the CBI registered an FIR against Lawyers Collective last year for alleged violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act.

The CBI FIR was registered after the Supreme Court issued notice in a PIL filed by an NGO named 'Lawyers Voice' demanding probe against Lawyers Collective. Soon after the CJI-led bench issued notice in the PIL, Jaising issued a statement suggesting that she was being targeted for demanding due enquiry process in the sexual harassment allegations against the CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
Last year, the Bombay High Court stayed the coercive steps in the CBI FIR against "Lawyer Collective" after observing that there was no new material against them.
The High Court noted that CBI had relied upon the same inspection report of 2016 on the basis of which NGO's FCRA registration was cancelled. Since the appeal is still pending, Court said-

"Prima facie we are of the opinion that if any violation of FCRA is attributed to petitioner No.1, an action is already initiated and there is no new material which are brought on record by the present FIR which is solely and entirely based on the inspection of Report of 2016.

In the absence of any fresh material being available for registration of the FIR, we deem it expedient to direct the respondents to file a detailed reply placing on record the material justifying the invocation of the provisions of the FCRA 2010."

Following the registration of FIR, the CBI had carried out raids in the offices and residences of Grover and Jaising. The CBI action was widely condemned by several advocates associations, including the Supreme Court Bar Association and Delhi HC Bar Association as an 'assault on the independence of lawyers'.









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