Supreme Court to hear Anil Deshmukh's appeal today

The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday the twin separate petitions of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and the state government, seeking to quash or at least stay the Bombay High Court's Monday order to register a preliminary inquiry to probe against him on former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh accusing him of collecting Rs 100 crore through his junior police officers.

Both the petitions are listed as item No 13 before the Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta. Deshmukh has engaged senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi to plead his case.

Deshmukh's lawyer rectified the errors in the petition and rushed to the Bench of Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde to mention it for an urgent listing, citing that the CBI has already starting the probe in lieu of the High Court directive despite its knowledge of a petition moved in the Apex Court on Tuesday.

He has contended that the High Court ordered the preliminary probe without seeking a response from him, claiming that it was perhaps for the first time in the history of the Indian judiciary that the corruption charges against a sitting minister were taken on face value. The High Court engaging the CBI, described in the petition as an "outside agency", amounts to the HC projecting the entire state machinery not to be trusted for such a probe.

The state government has, on the other hand, questioned the High Court passing the order on Monday on merits of the petition, though the case was actually listed for hearing on maintainability and further there were neither pleadings nor facts before the High Court to defence a probe by the CBI.

The High Court order had come on a petition by Mumbai-based activist lawyer Dr Jaishri Patil wanting a probe against both Deshmukh and transferred Mumbai Police Commissioner. She filed a caveat in the Supreme Court so as not to pronounce any order without hearing her since the High Court had acted on her plea. Patil is also the petitioner against the Maratha reservation in Maharashtra. The issue was expanded by a 5-judge Constitution Bench which reserved its ruling on March 26 on the reservations granted beyond 50% fixed by the Supreme Court by many state governments.

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