Amaravati land scam: SC lifts Andhra Pradesh HC’s stay on government’s SIT probe

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the Andhra Pradesh HC’s order of staying the government orders on September 26, 2019, and February 20, 2020, passed by the YSR government for constituting a cabinet sub-committee to scrutinise decisions taken by the previous TDP regime and forming an SIT for probing into the alleged irregularities, including the Amravati land scam.

The state by GO dated September 26, 2019, had appointed a Cabinet sub-Committee for examining the allegations of corruption against members of the erstwhile govt and by go dated February 20, 2020, had set up SIT to undertake investigations into these allegations.

A bench of Justices MR Shah and MM Sundresh headed by Justice MR Shah was of the opinion that it could not be said that the GOs were overturning the decisions taken earlier by the previous government or were an attempt to review the decisions taken by the govt. Agreeing with the submissions of senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for the state that the HC misinterpreted and misconstrued the GOs, the top court was of the view that the HC also did not consider various legal contentions that were raised before the top court.

The bench further said that the HC had also not taken into consideration the state’s request to the Centre, referring the matter to CBI pursuant to the consent given on July 13, 2020.

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“In our view, the High Court ought not to have granted an interim stay when it was not required as the entire matter is at a premature nascent stage.  The Central government is yet to take a call on the letter and the consent given by the first petitioner (now appellant). It would have been better, had the High Court permitted the parties to complete the pleadings, and thereafter, decided the writ petitions one way or the other by affording ample opportunity to the parties before it,” the top court also said.

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The verdict which was reserved by a bench of Justices MR Shah and MM Sundresh on November 17 came in a plea, which was filed by the state government against HC’s September 16 order. The HC on September 16 had stayed the GOs by prima facie finding that it was politically motivated and that the current government did not have the power to carte blanche review all policies propounded by the previous government. 

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