New Delhi | The Supreme Court today rejected a plea against the discharge of BJP President Amit Shah in the 2005 Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, questioning the locus standi of petitioner Harsh Mander, a social activist, in the matter.
Rejected, a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan said after nearly a half-an-hour hearing on the plea filed by former bureaucrat Mander challenging the Bombay High Court order which had upheld the discharge of Shah by the trial court in the case. When the person is genuinely aggrieved then the issue takes a different colour but when the person is not remotely connected and wants to revive the case then it is a different matter, said the bench, while giving relief to Shah.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mander, said, Public must get the feeling that nobody is above the law. To this, the court said it does not consider anyone above the law. Sibal said, CBI has filed the charge sheet but I am unable to understand why did they turn turtle. Even his (Sohrabuddin) brother who filed the case against Shah withdrew his case later. He said that it is a high profile case which was transferred from Gujarat to Maharashtra and added that justice to the people of India should be done.
At the outset, the bench questioned the locus standi of Mander in the case. Sibal cited some earlier judgments of the apex court and said any member of society can have a locus in the case. He said that the high court should not have dismissed Mander’s application and could have taken suo motu cognizance of the issue.
He said, CBI has filed a charge sheet and had made Shah accused number 16. It is a case of murder. Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Shah, cited various judgments of the apex court and questioned the locus of Mander in the case. He said, This court has already held that if one is not connected with the case, he cannot interfere with anyone’s trial.
Salve further said, It cannot be a case that if State is not going to file an appeal, I will file the appeal. He also said this court has held that a third party cannot be allowed to interfere in the trial unless it is an aggrieved party. In the petition, Mander had sought quashing of the December 30, 2014 order of a Mumbai sessions court giving clean chit to Shah in the case.
The petitioner had questioned the findings of sessions court which was endorsed by the high court exonerating Shah in the Tulsiram Prajapati killing case, holding that there existed no case against him and that he had been implicated for political reasons. Mander had approached the Bombay High Court against the sessions court order.
The High Court had dismissed the plea in March this year. Sohrabuddin, a gangster was killed by Gujarat police along with his wife Kausar Bi in 2005, when Shah was the Home minister of Gujarat. Tulsiram, an aide of the gangster and an eyewitness to the encounter, was also killed allegedly by the police in 2006.
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