Friday, March 2, 2012

HC stays SAC proceedings against CM and others

The High Court today stayed the proceedings initiated by the State Accountability Commission (SAC) against Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and various boards for conferencing Ministerial status on politicians.

The SAC had last month issued notices to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, his Advisor Mubarak Gul, Political Advisor Devinder Rana, Vice Chairmen-Mushtaq Shah, Bashir Naz, Rashpal Singh, Kuldeep Verma, Vice Chairperson Swarn Lata and Chairpersons- Shameema Firdous and Khem Lata Wakhloo; and asked them to explain under what rules ministerial status was conferred to CM's Advisors and heads of boards.

The SAC had observed that conferring Ministerial status was seen as undue favor to the politicians at the cost of the public exchequer and had taken suo moto cognizance on the issue.

Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir of the High Court stayed the order of the Commission passed on February 17 by the SAC and also the proceedings before the Commission.

Mushtaq Bukhari, Shamima Firdous, Bashir Ahmad Naaz and Kuldip Raj had filed petitions before the High Court seeking orders to quash the proceedings before the SAC on the notices issued to them.

The Counsel for the petitioners advocate Jahangir Iqbal pleaded that the State Accountability Commission Act does not provide any powers to the Commission to take suo moto cognizance of any matter without any complaint.

Advocate Jehangir pleaded that provisions of the law suggest that there should be a complaint and complainant before the Commission so as to enable it to take cognizance under the SAC Act.

The court has observed that a complaint has been filed against Khem Lata Wakhloo only by one Wali Mohammad Mir and not against the others against whom notices have also been issued. In Wakhloo's case there is no stay as the complaint stands registered against her.

While admitting the petitions, Justice Mir issued notices to the State Government and the SAC with the direction to file their responses within four weeks.

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