Subrata Roy
Subrata Roy

New Delhi :  Beleaguered Sahara Chief Subrata Roy on Wednesday challenged before the Supreme Court his detention order passed by a two-member bench calling it “illegal and unconstitutional” and demanded his release.

Subrata Roy
Subrata Roy

The Sahara group’s lawyers failed to get any immediate relief with a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam referring the matter through a habeas corpus petition to a two-member bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, which would hear it on Thursday afternoon. On March 4, the two-judge bench had sent Roy and two of company’s directors to Tihar jail in connection with the case relating to non-refund of Rs 20,000 crore to its investors.

 The same bench briefly heard the matter in the afternoon when senior advocate Ram Jethmalani made a strong plea for “rectification of mistake” in the March 4 order.

“It is a little embarrassing to argue before you that your order needs rectification,” the counsel said, adding, “It is a deep embarrassment for me but if the lordship is willing to hear then I would make my lordships quite satisfied with my arguments”.

However, the bench said it would go through the petition and hear the matter on Thursday and then express its view. “We will go through the pleadings then we will say whether we are embarrassed or not,” Justice Khehar shot back.

A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment or detention is lawful.

On the last date of hearing on March 7, the apex court had asked the Sahara group to come out with “honourable proposal” for depositing Rs 20,000 crore of investor money and posted the hearing on March 11. But the case got adjourned with no date of further hearing specified.

In a hard-hitting petition, Roy submitted that detaining him is “purely illegal, contrary to the procedure prescribed by law and against the principles of natural justice”.

 Roy questioned the constitutional validity of the detention order saying it was passed after an “illusionary” hearing. “The petitioner submits that the impugned order made after such illusionary hearing is in total defiance of the rules framed under the Constitution and is gross violation of principle of natural justice,” he said in his petition.

“The petitioner is today detained under an order which does not inform what he is detained for, what is he found guilty of, what is the punishment order and what is the duration thereof. This is not following what is called procedure established by law within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution,’’ Roy’s counsel has submitted.

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