New Delhi: Shiv Menon, Sunanda Pushkar’s son on Monday moved the Delhi high court seeking to be added as a third party in a petition filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy for a CBI-monitored probe by a SIT (Special Investigation Team) into his mother’s death.
Pushkar was the wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
Menon filed two miscellaneous applications in the case, one making a prayer for impleading (adding a necessary party to a case) to the proceedings and another asking the court to direct that the status report by Delhi Police not be handed over to Swamy, considering his lack of locus standi (interest in the case being heard).
The judge asked Menon’s lawyer, Vikas Pawa, “If you are affected by orders passed in the PIL, you must be heard but how are you affected?"
In response, Pawa argued that Menon is “the deceased person’s son and this is not a PIL (public interest litigation) at all. The petition should be dismissed on locus standi itself. The petition has been circulated on Twitter, Livelaw, Bar and Bench. It has become a matter of public debate."
He elaborated that the petitions were circulated everywhere within six days and he was, as such, challenging Swamy’s intention in filing the petition.
“His only intention is to get publicity," Pawa said.
On 20 July the Court directed the Delhi Police to file a status report on the matter within 3 days. Menon also challenged the ‘direction’ of the court of handing over a copy of the status report to Swamy, because “passing orders is a prerogative of the Court" and the status report too would be circulated all over the media.
To this, Justice Sistani replied that no such direction had been made at all. In fact, the judge said, “No seal of approval has even been given about the maintainability of the petition. The Delhi Police has simply been directed to file a status report."
Pawa asked for an interim relief to be passed to “direct the Delhi police to file the status report before the court and supply copies only to concerned parties."
Rahul Mehra, standing counsel for the state, addressing this concern replied, “Status report has not been received by us at all, and once we do, we will only hand over the report in a sealed cover to the court. We are responsible officers of the court."
The standing counsel, visibly surprised, added, “This matter should not have come in a public interest litigation at all. The son should have come to the court himself" asking for expediting the process of investigation into his mother’s death.
Justice Sistani, agreeing with Mehra said, “It is a matter of grave concern that a chargesheet has not been filed in the matter for three-and-a-half years."
Pawa replied on behalf of Menon saying, “As a 24-year-old he has done all he could. Several letters have been written to the police commissioner asking to expedite investigation."
The court agreed to consider Menon’s application, and the matter will next be taken up on 1 August.
Pushkar was found dead in a hotel room in south Delhi in January 2014 in mysterious circumstances. Swamy moved the Delhi high court earlier this month seeking the involvement of CBI in the probe alleging laxity and irregularities in the investigation by the Delhi police.