Supreme Court directs Jharkhand High Court to consider issue of maintainability first in PIL raising allegation against CM Hemant Soren

Read Time: 05 minutes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the High Court of Jharkhand to consider the issue of maintainability first in a Public Interest Litigation filed against the Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Soren raising the issue of shell companies owned by Soren.

A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Bela M Trivedi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement Director that when the authorities have their own remedies available under the law, why they are piggybacking upon a petitioner.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by the Central Government challenging the Jharkhand High Court order directing the Enforcement Directorate to submit documents of operations being conducted against the alleged shell companies owned by the Chief Minister Hemant Soren in a Public Interest Litigation filed by Shiv Shankar Sharma.

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

In response to this, Justice Chandrachud opined, “We'll ask the High Court to decide on the question of maintainability first.”

However, SG 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 added.

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

However, while 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."

Cause Title: The State of Jharkhand Vs. Shiv Shankar Sharma & Ors.