FPJ Legal: Param Bir Singh’s plea against Inquiry Committee’s summons to be heard with PIL raising similar issues

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, August 30, 2021, 05:59 PM IST
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Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh | PTI Photo

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday clubbed plea by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh’s challenging the constitution of one-man Inquiry Committee headed by retired Justice KU Chandiwal along with a PIL filed by Mumbai lawyer raising similar issues.

The one-man Inquiry Committee headed by retired HC judge KU Chandiwal was set up by Maharashtra government to probe into allegations against the state’s former home minister Anil Deshmukh as alleged by Singh in his letter to the government.

Singh’s petition had come up for hearing before justice KK Tated who was informed that a PIL was filed by advocate Ishan Srivastav raising same challenges.

Anukul Seth, advocate for Singh, said that Justice Tated has directed that Singh’s plea be heard along with the PIL which will be heard by a division bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipankar Datta.

Srivastav’s PIL was listed for hearing before the division bench of CJ Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni on Monday. However, it did not reach for hearing. It is likely to come up for hearing next week.

Singh’s petition challenges the legality of the Committee stating that the scope entrusted to it has already been adjudicated by the HC and the Supreme Court. The petition prays that the HC declare that the Inquiry Committee’s scope stands adjudicated and hence nothing survives to be inquired into.

“The April 5 order of the HC was challenged in the Supreme Court by the state government and Anil Deshmukh. The Supreme Court while refusing to intervene was pleased to observe that the nature of allegations, the personas involved and the seriousness of the allegations do require an independent agency to enquire into the matter and that it was a matter of public confidence,” reads the petition.

Pending hearing on his petition, Singh has prayed that the HC stay the proceeding before the Committee and also the summons issued to him. Singh has further said that he cannot be compelled to depose before the commission and face cross examination.

The Committee has imposed a total cost of Rs 50,000 on Singh for failing to appearing before it for inquiry.

Singh had written a letter to the Registrar of the Inquiry Commission informing that the commission’s scope has been adjudicated upon and thus nothing survives to be inquired into. The Inquiry Commission had rejected Singh’s contentions and directed for the inquiry to continue.

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