Supreme Court Defers Hearing Challenge To PIL Raising Allegation Of Money Laundering Against Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren

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The plea has been filed challenging the High Court's order holding the PIL plea filed against the Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Soren raising the issue of money laundering maintainable.

The Supreme Court on Thursday differed from hearing the Jharkhand Government's plea challenging the Jharkhand High Court order which has held that the Public Interest Litigation filed against the Chief Minister of Jharkhand over the issue of money laundering is maintainable.

A bench of Justice UU Lalit, Justice Aniruddha Bose, and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia has directed the matter to be listed on August 12 after a counsel informed the bench that the earlier counsel has been removed and he received the files of the case last night.

The Special Leave Petition has been filed by the Government against the High Court order which had accepted the maintainability of the PIL petition filed against the Chief Minister raising the issue of money laundering through several shell companies owned by Soren.

The High Court bench of Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad had noted that the PIL is maintainable.

The High Court order was passed after the direction of the Apex Court, wherein a bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Bela M Trivedi had directed the High Court of Jharkhand to consider the issue of maintainability first. The order was passed in an application filed by the Government challenging the PIL filed by Shiv Shankar Sharma against the alleged shell companies owned by Chief Minister Hemant Soren on the ground of maintainability of the plea.

Earlier Hearing:

Earlier, Senior Advocate, Kapil Sibal appeared for the Jharkhand Government before the Supreme Court and submitted that the petitioner in the Jharkhand High Court keeps on filing PILs and doesn't disclose any of the details though there are rules in this regard.

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted, “If there is some higher official involved, we prefer not to submit files before the police department, there is a money trail found and we prefer placing it before the Court.”

"If it has been a motivated petition then it should not have been drafted in the way it has been. I would be the first person to be happy if the Court directs the malicious PIL petitioners to be thrown out, it may not be this petitioner,” SG Mehta had argued.

Whereas, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Chief Minister had submitted, “The question of maintainability has been raised by me and this person is motivated because of some rivalry with my father.”

Pronouncing its order, the bench noted, “Since the High Court has fairly stated that it will deal with the issue of maintainability upfront, we order and direct that the issue of the maintainability should be dealt with the High Court on the next date and the High Court can proceed as the law thereafter."

The Supreme Court further noted, "The issue of maintainability should be dealt with by the High Court on the next date of listing when the proceedings are taken up. Based on the outcome of the objections to the maintainability of the proceedings, the High Court may thereafter proceed in accordance with law."

Case Title: State of Jharkhand Vs. Shiv Shankar Sharma and Ors.