The Supreme Court on Thursday said that a plea, seeking direction to the governments of Maharashtra and Delhi for sacking of arrested ministers Nawab Malik and Satyendar Jain, would be listed for hearing after it is placed before Chief Justice N.V. Ramana.
As Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay mentioned the plea for urgent listing before a vacation bench of Justices C.T. Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia, the bench asked: “Did you make a mention (the plea) before the Registrar?….. Everyday we are saying ‘please make a mention before the registrar and even then, if it is not posted, mention it before us’.”
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Upadhyay submitted that there is “serious violation” of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution, and added that the Maharashtra minister is in judicial custody for 4 months while the Delhi minister was also in judicial custody for nearly 30 days. “Unfortunately, these ministers are public servants. There`s a serious violation of Article 14,” said Upadhyay.
The bench told Upadhyay that he should mention the plea before the Registrar and most probably it will be posted next week. “Such matters will be posted before the Chief Justice first, then only it will be listed,” it said.
The plea said: “Direct and declare that the Minister, who is not only a public servant under S. 21 of the IPC and S. 2(c) of the PCA (Prevention of Corruption Act) but also a lawmaker and takes constitutional oath under Schedule-3; shall be temporarily debarred from holding office, after 2 days in judicial custody (like IAS, Judges & other public servants are suspended from services).”
The plea also sought a direction to the Law Commission to examine election laws of developed countries and prepare a comprehensive report to maintain nobility and dignity of ministers, legislators and public servants in spirit of Article 14. Upadhyay filed the petition through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.
The petitioner sought a direction to Maharashtra government to sack Malik who was arrested in February 2022 and continues in judicial custody in connection with cases of black money, benami properties, money laundering and disproportionate assets, linked with Mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. “Petitioner also seeks direction to Delhi Government to sack Cabinet Minister Satyendra Jain, who was arrested on May 31, 2022 and continues in judicial custody in connection with cases of black money, benami properties, ghost companies, money laundering and disproportionate assets,” added the plea.