Delhi High Court holds judgement on JMM chief’s appeal against directive not to meddle in Lokpal proceedings

In response to an appeal by longtime politician and leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Shibu Soren, against a single judge’s decision to stay out of the Lokpal’s proceedings against him stemming from a charge brought by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, the Delhi High Court postponed its decision on Tuesday.

On January 22, Justice Subramonium Prasad declined to get involved in the case, citing the complaint and Soren’s appeal contesting the Lokpal proceedings as premature.

The court emphasized the Lokpal’s independence in determining whether or not there was enough evidence to go on with a probe.

After deciding all of the case’s facts, the Division Bench of Justices Rekha Palli and Rajnish Bhatnagar reserved their decision, stating that the ruling will either be issued by Tuesday or by Wednesday.

Previously, Soren’s attorney’s argument was dismissed by Justice Prasad, who maintained that the Lokpal would unavoidably order a probe and that the whole accusation was politically motivated.

Nishikant Dubey had claimed in the August 2020 lawsuit that Soren and his family members had blatantly engaged in corruption and abused the public coffers to amass enormous money and assets.

Allegations of political interference cannot be accepted, the court said, and the Lokpal will independently review the situation to determine if an inquiry was necessary. The court upheld the Lokpal’s autonomy.

Justice Prasad had pointed out that the Lokpal had not yet given consideration to the information supplied by the CBI on the need for an inquiry.

In September 2022, the High Court had already placed a halt on the Lokpal proceedings. The Lokpal had said that there had been no basic rights violated and that Soren’s appeal had been misconceived.

It had defended the first investigation, claiming that gathering the information specified in the complaint was the right course of action.

The Lokpal had insisted that all issues, including the statute of limitations, were subject to adjudication.

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