New Delhi, Sep 29: The Delhi High Court, while allowing the applications of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking early hearing of their appeals against the acquittal of the accused in the 2G spectrum scam case, on Tuesday remarked that no judge will say that they will not hear the cases “because the record is voluminous”.
“The judicial discipline demands that the judge should do his duty and must not succumb to pessimism and it is not expected from him to sit leisurely with his pen down and to say that he will not hear the cases because the record is voluminous and the time at his disposal is limited,” said a single judge bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi.
“This court has only one thing to say that no doubt, there may be delay in filing the applications for early hearing; no doubt the documents are voluminous in nature; no doubt the evidence runs into thousands of pages; no doubt that one of the judgments also runs into 1,552 pages, but that does not mean that this should deter this court in hearing the criminal leave petitions,” it added.
The observations came in while the court pronounced its verdict on the applications filed by the probe agencies for early hearing, and slated them for hearing on day to day basis from October 5.
The observations came in response to arguments made by counsel for the accused that allowing the application for early hearing shall be against the interest of justice, as they will not be afforded an adequate opportunity as record runs into lakhs of pages. “To address arguments, each person will not even get 0.89 day to argue his or her case as the concerned judge is scheduled to demit his office. Justice hurried is Justice buried,” advocate Vijay Aggarwal had said.
However, Justice Sethi, in his order, said: “This court is of the opinion that with the assistance and cooperation of learned counsel, all endeavours should be made to hear the matter as early as possible,” adding that though it has limited time, yet no one should carry an impression that he will not get a fair opportunity of hearing.
“This court assures that everyone will be given an effective hearing. However, at the same time, it goes without saying that irrelevant and repetitive arguments need to be avoided,” he said.
Justice Sethi also stressed that it would be folly not to make an attempt and to sit idle, abdicating one’s duty. “It is advisable to perform one’s duty irrespective of the fact whatever conclusion the petitions reach. This court, therefore, will not fail in its duty and expects all the learned counsels to cooperate and assist this Court in deciding the matters expeditiously.”
The scam came to light almost seven years ago when the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a report, held then Telecom Minister A Raja responsible for causing the state exchequer a loss of Rs 1,76,379 crore by allocating 2G spectrum licenses at throwaway prices.
However, the trial court found that the prosecution failed to prove the charges. This verdict, however, doesn’t override the Supreme Court judgement or take away from the fact that the licenses issued during 2G spectrum allocation were illegal.