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You cannot piggyback on someone else's case: SC to Bhushan

New Delhi

07-January-2020

Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on Tuesday questioned the locus standi of an NGO represented by senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan in a case seeking reopening of a closed corruption case against Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar.

"You cannot piggy back, and you can't ride on somebody's shoulder," the CJI told Bhushan, appearing for NGO Samaj Parivartan Samudaya which has sought to reopen a land denotification case against Yediyurappa and Shivakumar.

"Show us what happened to your complaint before the Lokayukta", he asked Bhushan.

The bench headed by the Chief Justice and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant asked Bhushan to show if he had filed the complaint. The matter has been adjourned for two weeks.

As explaining the chronology of the client's complaint, Bhushan said a representation was made before the Karnataka Chief Minister, the Chief Justice intervened to say: "Your representation to the Chief Minister is not the complaint. The counsel for the respondent said this representation was made after the High Court order, which quashed the Lokayukta chargesheet."

"You are not at all clear what happened to your case...and we are not asking about your role. We want to know what did the Lokayukta do on your complaint, you cannot piggy back and cannot ride on someone else's complaint," the CJI added.

The court queried Bhushan that the complainant has withdrawn the complaint in the matter, and what was the reason in the delay for moving the apex court. The court also asked him to explain what they were doing during the pendency.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and P.S. Narasimha, appearing for the leaders, submitted before the court that the NGO was not a party to the criminal proceedings.

The case is connected with the denotification of 4.20-acre land in Bengaluru allegedly in contravention of the Karnataka Restriction of Transfer of Land Act, 1991 during the previous stint of Yediyurappa. It was alleged the land was denotified to provide undue benefit to senior Congress leader Shivakumar.

Besides the leaders, Hamed Ali, then working sub-registrar at Bengaluru South Taluk, and others were made accused in the case. The trial court took cognizance of the matter in February 2012.

In 2018, the Karnataka High Court had quashed the complaint. A special leave petition filed by a social worker from Ramanagaram district was also withdrawn in the apex court. In September 2019, a separate bench had permitted the NGO led by S.R. Hiremath to file a special leave petition as he questioned the court's permission to allow withdrawal of the petition in February 2019 in his absence. The NGO had filed an intervention application. First complainant T J Abraham had also withdrawn his petition.IANS