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PoliticsTRS MLAs poaching case: Supreme Court quashes Telangana HC order permitting SIT...

TRS MLAs poaching case: Supreme Court quashes Telangana HC order permitting SIT probe

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The Supreme Court has quashed the Telangana High Court division bench order which gave the go-ahead to a special investigation team (SIT) set up by the state government to carry out a probe under court supervision into the alleged attempts by ‘BJP agents’ to poach four TRS legislators.

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The high court division bench had in its November 15 order refused to transfer the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and had asked the SIT under Police Commissioner C V Anand to report to it.

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Hearing a petition by the three accused challenging the high court order, a Supreme Court bench of Justices B R Gavai and Vikram Nath asked the “single judge…to consider the writ petition(s) filed by” the accused “on its own merits and in accordance with law, as expeditiously as possible and preferably within four weeks from” the date of its order.

The Supreme Court order of November 21 was uploaded on its official page on November 23.

The apex court noted that the “senior counsel appearing for the petitioner(s) as well as learned counsel for the respondent-State agree that the matter needs to be reconsidered by the learned single judge on its own merits without being influenced by the observations made by the division bench”.

It added, “Even otherwise, we find that some of the directions which are issued by the learned judges of the division bench are not sustainable in law”.

The Supreme Court also expressed its displeasure at the comments made by a single judge of the high court in its order asking the three accused to surrender to the police.

The accused were arrested by the Cyberabad police on October 26 on charges that they attempted to lure a few TRS MLAs to switch over to the BJP.

However, an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) special court before which they were produced refused to remand them saying the police had failed to follow Supreme Court guidelines regarding arrest as laid down in the 2014 ruling in Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar.

The police then approached the state high court where a single judge set aside the ACB judge’s decision and asked the trio to surrender before the Cyberabad police commissioner.

Hearing the appeal, the Supreme Court termed as “totally unwarranted” the single judge’s observation that “a parental guidance by the Supreme Court through the judgment in Arnesh Kumar’s case is thus not a sword of Damocles either in respect of police officers or magistrates who exercise the power of arrest and remand respectively”.

Stating that it finds the approach of the single judge in dealing with the matter “totally untenable”, the Supreme Court bench said, “Though, it is always said that the high court is not a court to subordinate to the Supreme Court. However, when the high court deals with judgments of this court, which are binding on everyone under Article 141 of the Constitution of India, it is expected that the judgments have to be dealt with due respect.”

The Supreme Court, however, declined to entertain the appeal of the three accused against the direction to surrender but asked the high court to consider their bail applications expeditiously.

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