Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

2G spectrum case: Accused can appeal before high court against special court order

The ruling is significant because it allows the accused a second shot at an appeal, before the Supreme Court

New Delhi: Accused in the 2G spectrum-related cases will be able to appeal before the high court against a final order by the special court trying them, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

The ruling is significant because it allows the accused a second shot at an appeal, before the Supreme Court.

The apex court, by way of two orders dated 10 February 2011 and 11 April 2011, had excluded the jurisdiction of the high court in entertaining these appeals and said that all appeals would come directly to the Supreme Court. So, all appeals against special judge O.P. Saini’s orders had to be filed before the apex court, which was monitoring the 2G spectrum probe.

The court clarified that the high court would not entertain appeals against interim orders of the special court.

“It’s burdensome for this court to hear an appeal for the first time, with all the papers and documents. If there’s an order of the high court, it is helpful. Further, why should you be deprived as an accused person? This provides a second appeal to prove your innocence," chief justice H.L. Dattu said.

A three-judge bench comprising Dattu, justices A.K. Sikri and Rohinton F. Nariman also declined to entertain petitions filed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader K. Kanimozhi and Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd promoter Shahid Balwa seeking quashing of charges framed against them in the 2G trial. The court also said that other petitions similar to this would also be similarly dismissed.

“At this belated stage, we won’t entertain these writ petitions," Dattu said.

The court noted in its order that evidence had been completed in the trial and arguments were partly heard.

Kanimozhi and Balwa are being tried under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act like criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

“I argued that my fundamental right under Article 21 is being restricted because I am not being heard. The court said that after the final order of the special court, high court will hear the appeal, in the fairness of things. I also raised the issue of delay, which happened because of the court, but the court took a holistic view of the situation," said lawyer Amarendra Sharan, who represented Kanimozhi in the case.

Anand Grover, special public prosecutor in the 2G trial, told the court that more than 100 witnesses had been examined and he had completed two-thirds of his arguments.