The Supreme Cout on Wednesday issued notices to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and others on a petition of Essar Teleholdings and Loop Telecom, questioning the special CBI court's jurisdiction to try them even though they have not been charged under the anti-corruption Act.
A bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya, however, rejected the plea of the two service providers to suspended the proceedings against them before the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court. The petitioners had sought interim stay of the proceedings against them.
Senior counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the two firms, pleaded that the special CBI court of Justice O.P. Saini did not have the jurisdiction to take cognisance against their clients,
"I can't appear before a court which has no jurisdiction," Rohatgi told the apex court.
The court said that it will hear the matter and if it found that the special court lacked jurisdiction, then it will quash the proceedings against them.
The court was told that Special CBI judge Saini had listed the matter for hearing on February 22.
The petitioner companies, their counsel said, had also opposed the notification issued by the central government setting up the special court which said that it would hear all the matters connected with 2G scam.
At the very outset of the hearing, the court pointed out that petitioner companies have not impleaded the original petitioner, CPIL and others as respondent. It gave the counsel for petitioner companies a week's time to include them as respondents.
The court said that the notices were returnable in two weeks.