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Non- official as co – accused can be prosecuted along with other official accused by Special court = Admittedly, 2G Scam case is triable by the Special Judge against the persons accused of offences punishable under the PC Act in view of sub­Section (1) of Section 4. The Special Judge alone can take the cognizance of the offence specified in sub­ Section (1) of Section 3 and conspiracy in relation to them. While trying any case, the Special Judge may also try an offence other than the offence specified in sub­Section (1) of Section 3, in view of sub­Section (3) of Section 4. A magistrate cannot take cognizance of offence as specified in Section 3(1) of the PC Act. In this background, as the petitioners have been shown as co­accused in second­ supplementary chargesheet filed in 2G Scam case, it is open to the Special Judge to take cognizance of the offence under Section 120­B and Section 420 IPC.- the Special Judge while trying the co­ accused of an offence punishable under the provisions of the Act as also an offence punishable under Section 120­B read with Section 420 IPC has the jurisdiction to try the appellant also for the offence punishable under Section 120­B read with Section 420 IPC applying the principles incorporated in Section 223 of the Code.; In the present case there is nothing on the record to suggest that the petitioners will not get fair trial and may face miscarriage of justice. In absence of any such threat & miscarriage of justice, no interference is called for against the impugned order taking cognizance of the offence against the petitioners. On 11th April, 2001, when the 2G Scam Case was taken up by this Court, this Court, inter alia, observed as follows: “Acting on such basis, this Court has given directions for establishing a separate Special Court to try this case and pursuant to such direction, a Special Court has been constituted after following the due procedure. We also make it clear that any objection about appointment of Special Public Prosecutor or his assistant advocates or any prayer for staying or impeding the progress of the Trial can be made only before this Court and no other court shall entertain the same. The trial must proceed on a day­to­ day basis. All these directions are given by this Court in exercise of its power under Article 136 read with Article 142 of the Constitution and in the interest of holding a fair prosecution of the case.” From the aforesaid order it is clear that this Court passed the order under Article 136 read with Article 142 of the Constitution, in the interest of holding a fair prosecution of the case. – In Rupa Asbhok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra and another, (2002) 4 SCC 388, this Court held that a final judgment or order passed by this Court cannot be assailed in an application under Article 32 of the Constitution by an aggrieved person, whether he was a party to the case or not. For the said reason also, it is not open to the petitioner to indirectly assail the order passed by this Court in 2G Scam case. 30. We find no merit in these writ petitions, they are accordingly dismissed. The Special Court is expected to proceed with the trial on day­to­day basis to ensure early disposal of the trial. There shall be no order as to costs.

published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs1.aspx?filename=40469

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (C) No. 57 OF 2012
ESSAR TELEHOLDINGS LTD. … PETITIONER
Versus
REGISTRAR GENERAL,
DELHI HIGH COURT  & ORS.  … RESPONDENTS
With
WRIT PETITION (C) No. 59 OF 2012
LOOP TELECOM LTD.  … PETITIONER
Versus
REGISTRAR GENERAL,
DELHI HIGH COURT  & ORS.      … RESPONDENTS
With
WRIT PETITION (C) No. 96 OF 2012
VIKASH SARAF … PETITIONER
Versus
REGISTRAR GENERAL,
DELHI HIGH COURT  & ORS.  … RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T
SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, J.
Feeling   aggrieved   by   the   order   dated   21st
December, 2011 passed by the Special Judge, Central
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Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi taking cognizance
against   the   petitioners,   they   have   preferred   these
writ petitions challenging the said order dated 21st
December, 2011, Administrative Order dated 15th March,
2011 passed by the Delhi High Court and Notification
dated   28th  March,   2011   passed   by   the   Government   of
National Capital Territory of Delhi (for short ‘NCT
of   Delhi’)   designating   Mr.   Om   Prakash   Saini   as
Special   Judge   to   undertake   the   trial   of   cases   in
relation   to   all   matters   pertaining   to   2G   Spectrum
case   (commonly   known   as   2G   Scam   case)   exclusively.
One   of   the   writ   petitions   has   been   filed   by   an
individual   and   two   other   writ   petitions   have   been
preferred by two Companies who are all accused in 2G
Scam case.
2. The factual matrix of the case is given in brief
as under:
Acting   on   various   complaints   pursuant   to   grant
of   UAS   licences   in   2008,   the   Central   Vigilance
Commission   after   conducting   a   preliminary   inquiry
entrusted   investigation   of   the   case   to   the   CBI.
After   preliminary   investigation,   on   21.10.2009,   the
CBI   lodged   FIR   RC   No.   DAI­2009­A­0045   against
“unknown   officers   of   the   Department   of
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Telecommunications   and   unknown   private
persons/companies   and   others”  for   causing   wrongful
loss   to   the   Government   by   criminal   misconduct   and
criminal conspiracy in distribution of UAS licences
in   January,   2008.     Subsequently,   a   Public   Interest
Litigation was filed before the Delhi High Court, in
Writ   Petition   (C)   No.3522   of   2010,   inter   alia,
alleging that the FIR filed by the CBI on 21.10.2009
was not being investigated and thereby praying that
the   CBI   be   directed   to   investigate   the   same.     The
said writ petition was dismissed by the Delhi High
Court on 25.5.2010.
3. Against   the   order   of   dismissal,   the   petitioner
of   the   said   case,     Centre   for   Public   Interest
Litigation (for short, ‘CPIL’), filed SLP(C) No.24873
of   2010,   wherein   this   Court   by   order   dated   16th
December, 2010 granted leave (C.A.No.10660 of 2010)
and decided to monitor the investigation, [reported
in (2011) 1 SCC 560].
4. In the said case by order dated 10.2.2011, this
Court indicated that a separate Special Court should
be   established   to   try   the   case(s)   relating   to   2G
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Spectrum. The said part of the above order is quoted
hereunder:
“We   also   indicated   to   the   learned   Attorney
General that a separate Special Court should be
established to try the case(s) relating to 2G
Spectrum.     The   learned   Attorney   General
responded   to   this   by   stating   that   he   may   be
given two weeks’ time to consult the concerned
authorities   and   make   a   statement   on   this
issue.”
5. Pursuant   to   aforesaid   observation,   the   Delhi
High   Court   issued   impugned   Administrative   order
dated 15.3.2011 nominating one  Mr. Om Prakash  Saini
as Special Judge to try cases of 2G Scam exclusively.
6. Another   order   was   passed   by   this   Court   on
16.3.2011 inter alia directing;
“At   the   commencement   of   hearing,   learned
Attorney General placed before the Court letter
dated  14.03.2011   sent  to   him   by   the   Registrar
General   of   the   High   Court   of   Delhi   conveying
the   decision   taken   by   the   High   Court   to
nominate   Shri  O.P.   Saini,  an   officer   of   Delhi
Higher   Judicial   Service,   who   is   presently
posted   as  Special  Judge   (PC   Act)   (CBI)­2,   New
Delhi,   Patiala   House   Courts   as   the   Special
Judge   to   undertake   the   trial   of   cases   in
relation to all matters pertaining to what has
been described as 2G Scam exclusively.
Learned Attorney General gave out that he would
ensure   that   two   separate   notifications   are
issued   by   the   Central   Government   in   terms   of
Section   3(1)   of   the   Prevention   of   Corruption
Act,   1988  and  Section  43(1)   of  the  Prevention
of Money Laundering Act, 2002 for establishment
of   the   Special   Court   to   exclusively   try   the
offences pertaining to what has been termed as
2G Scam and other related offences.     Learned
Attorney   General   submitted   that   appropriate
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notifications   will   be   issued   on   or   before
29.3.2011.”
7. Pursuant   to   the   abovesaid   order   the   Government
of N.C.T. of Delhi exercising its power under Section
3(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (for
short “the PC Act”) by notification dated 28.3.2011
designated Mr. Om Prakash Saini as Special Judge to
undertake   the   trial   of   cases   in   relation   to   all
matters pertaining to 2G Scam case exclusively.
8. Administrative   side   of   the   Delhi   High   Court,
thereafter,   issued   an   allocation   list   on   1.4.2011
whereby Mr. Om Prakash Saini (P.C. Act) (CBI­4) PHC
was   designated   as   Special   Judge   in   a   new   court   to
deal   with   matters   pertaining   to   the   2G   Scam   cases
exclusively.
9. CBI initially filed a charge sheet on 2nd April,
2011 against nine accused persons and thereafter on
25th  April,   2011   filed   a   supplementary   chargesheet
against   some   more   accused   persons.     No   allegations
were   made   against   the   petitioners   in   any   of   the
chargesheets.     Therefore,   they   were   not   shown   as
accused.
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10. In the 2G Scam case this Court vide order dated
11.4.2011 while appointing the learned Special Public
Prosecutor ordered as follows:
“We   also   make   it   clear   that   any
objection   about   the   appointment   of
Special   Public   Prosecutor   or   his
assistant   advocates   or   any   prayer
for staying or impeding the progress
of the Trial can be made only before
this Court and no other Court shall
entertain the same.   The trial must
proceed on a day­a­day basis.”
11. Subsequently, the CBI filed second supplementary
chargesheet   on   12.12.2011   against   the   petitioner(s)
and other accused persons for the alleged commission
of offences under Section 420/120­B IPC.  No offences
under   the   PC   Act   have   been   alleged   against   the
petitioner(s) and other accused persons arraigned in
the   second   supplementary   chargesheet.   Based   on   the
same,   the   learned   Special   Judge   by   impugned   order
dated   21.12.2011   was   pleased   to   take   cognizance   of
the second supplementary chargesheet dated 12.12.2011
and the petitioner(s) and others were summoned.
12. According to the petitioner(s), the CBI in its
chargesheet   dated   12.12.2011   admits   that   the
chargesheet   is   being   filed   “   regarding   a   separate
offence”  under Section 420/120­B IPC. In paragraphs
73 and 74 of the said chargesheet whilst admitting
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that   the   offences   alleged   in   the   chargesheet   are
triable   by   a   Magistrate,   the   CBI   relying   on   the
notification   dated   28.3.2011   requested   the   Special
Judge to take cognizance of the matter. Paragraphs 73
and 74 of the chargesheet read as under:
“73. This final report under Section 173(8) Cr.
P.C.   is   being   filed   regarding   a   separate
offence   which   came   to   notice   during
investigation of the FIR No. RC DAI 2009 A 0045
(2G   Spectrum   Case),which   is   pending   before
Hon’ble   Special   Judge   (2G   Spectrum   Cases),
Patiala   House   Courts,   New   Delhi   and   a   final
report dated 02.04.2011 and supplementary final
report   dated   25.04.2011   were   earlier   filed   in
the same FIR.
74. In terms of the Notification No.6/05/2011­
Judl./363­367 dated  28.03.2011 issued  by Govt.
of   NCT   of   Delhi   this   Hon’ble   Court   has   been
designated   to  undertake   the   trial   of   cases  in
relation   to   all   matters   pertaining  to   2G   Scam
exclusively   in   pursuance   of   the   orders  of   the
Supreme   Court,   although   offences   alleged   to
have been committed by accused persons sent up
for   trial   are   triable   by   the   Magistrate   of
first   class.     It   is,   therefore,   prayed   that
cognizance   of   the   aforesaid   offences   may   be
taken   or   the   final   report   may   be   endorsed   to
any   other  appropriate  court   as  deemed   fit   and
thereafter process may be issued to the accused
persons   for   their   appearance   and   to   face   the
trial as per Law.”
13. The   learned   Special   Judge,   thereafter,   took
cognizance vide impugned order dated 21.12.2011. The
relevant portion of the said impugned order reads as
under:
“2.   Ld.   Spl.   PP   further   submits   that   the
accused   have   been   charged   with   the   commission
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of offence, which are triable, by the Court of
Metropolitan   Magistrate.     It   is   further
submitted that this second supplementary charge
sheet also arises from the aforesaid RC bearing
No.DAI2009A0045/CBI/ACB/ND,   titled   as   CBI   v.
A.Raja   &   others,   arose   and   is   pending   trial.
He   further   submits   that   since   this   case   also
arises from the same FIR, it is to be tried by
this   Court   alone.     He   has   further   invited   my
attention to an order dated 15.03.2011, passed
by   the   Hon’ble   High   Court,   whereby   the
undersigned   was   nominated   as   Special   Judge   by
the Hon’ble High Court to exclusively try cases
of 2G Scam.
3.   Accordingly,   the   trial   of   this   second
supplementary   charge   sheet   shall   be   held   in
this   Court.     A   copy   of   the   order   dated
15.03.2011 be placed on the file.”
`
14. Learned   counsel   for   the   petitioner(s)   assailed
the impugned Administrative Order passed by the Delhi
High Court dated 15th March, 2011 and the Notification
dated 28th March, 2011 issued by the Government of NCT
Delhi on the following grounds:
(a) The impugned notification travels beyond the provisions of the Cr.PC.
The Cr.PC mandates that offences under the IPC ought to be tried as per its
provisions.
(b) It has been held by this Hon’ble Court in the case of CBI v. Keshub
Mahindra reported in (2011) 6 SCC 216 that, “No decision by any court, this
Court not excluded, can be read in a manner as to nullify the express
provisions of an Act or the Code.” Thus, the Administrative order and
Notification are contrary to the well-settled provisions of law and ought to be
set aside in so far as they confer jurisdiction on a Special Judge to take
cognizance and hold trial of matters not pertaining to PC Act offences.
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(c). If the offence of Section 420 IPC, which ought to be tried by a
Magistrate, is to be tried by a Court of Sessions, a variety of valuable rights of
the petitioner would be jeopardised. This would be contrary to the decision
of the Constitutional Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of A.R.
Antulay v. R.S. Nayak reported in (1988) 2 SCC 602, wherein it was
acknowledged that the right to appeal is a valuable right and the loss of such a
right is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
15. Mr. Harin P. Rawal, learned Additional Solicitor
of   India   appearing   on   behalf   of   the   CBI   made   the
following submissions:
a). The orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court directing the setting up
of the Special Court for 2G Scam cases were pursuant to its powers
under Articles 136 and 142 of the Constitution, which made it clear that
all the cases arising out of this Scam would be tried by the Special Court
so constituted.
b). The Administrative Order of the High Court of Delhi setting up
the Special Court is pursuant to its powers under Section 194 Cr.P.C.,
which empowers the High Court to direct, by special or general order,
an additional Sessions Judge to try certain cases. Section 194 of Cr.P.C.
is reproduced as below:-
“Section   194.   Additional   and
Assistant   Sessions   Judges   to   try
cases   made   over   to   them­  An
Additional   Sessions   Judge   or
Assistant   Sessions   Judge   shall   try
such   cases   as   the   Sessions   Judge   of
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the   division   may,   by   general   or
special   order,   make   over   to   him   for
trial   or   as   the   High   Court   may,   by
special order, direct him to try.”
c) Both Section 4(3) of the PC Act and Section 43(2) of the
Prevention of Money-Laundering Act 2002 empower the Special Court
to try any other offences that may be taken cognizance of under the
Cr.P.C.. In this view of events, the cognizance taken by the Special
Court of the charge-sheet filed against the accused was valid.
d) The Second Supplementary charge-sheet which makes out
offences against the present accused arises out of FIR No. RC DAI 2009
A 0045 registered by the CBI on 21.10.2009, out of which the earlier
charge-sheets have been filed, and cognizance taken by the Special
Court. An anomalous situation would be created if various accused
charged with offences arising out of the same FIR were to be tried by
different courts on the flimsy ground that some of them are only charged
of offences arising out of the IPC and not the special statutes under
which other charges are laid.
e) Higher courts can try an offence in view of Section 26 of Cr.P.C.
and no prejudice should be caused if the case is tried by a Special Judge.
By virtue of Administrative Order passed by the Delhi High court and
Notification issued by the Government of NCT, Delhi, the learned
Special Judge is not divested of his jurisdiction which he otherwise
possesses under Section 26 of the Cr.P.C. to try offence under IPC. The
Section reads as follows:
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“26.   Courts   by   which   offences   are
triable.­       Subject to the other
provisions of this Code,­
(a) Any offence under the Indian
Penal   Code   (45   of   1860)   may   be
tried by ­
(i) The High Court, or
(ii) The Court of Session,
or
(iii) Any other court by
which such offence is shown
in the First Schedule to be
triable;
(b)  Any offence under any other
law   shall,     when   any   Court   is
mentioned in this behalf in such
law,  be tried by such Court and
when   no   court   is   so   mentioned,
may be tried by –
(i) The High Court, or
(ii)Any   other   court   by   which
such offence is shown in the
First   Schedule   to   be
triable.”
16. Mr.   Prashant   Bhushan,   learned   counsel   for   the
CPIL, submitted that a Special Judge has the power to
try offences under the IPC and no challenge can be
made   against   this   power.   It   was   further   submitted
that in view of the order passed by this Court in 2G
Scam   case,   it   is   not   open   to   the   petitioners   to
approach any other Court to commence the trial.
17. A mere perusal of Section 3 read with Section 4
of   the   PC   Act   clearly   mandates   that   apart   from   an
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offence punishable under the PC Act,  any conspiracy
to commit or any attempt to commit or any abetment of
any of the offences specified under the PC Act can
also be tried by a Special Judge.  Sub section (3) of
Section   4 specifies   that when trying any case, a
Special Judge can also try any offence, other than an
offence   specified   in   Section   3,   with   which   the
accused   may,   under   the   Cr.P.C.,   be   charged   at   the
same trial.  Sections 3 and 4 of the PC Act  read as
under:
“3.   Power   to   appoint   special   Judges­(1)
The Central Government or the State Government
may,   by   notification   in   the Official   Gazette,
appoint   as   many   special   Judges   as   may   be
necessary   for  such   area   or  areas   or  for   such
case or group of cases as may be specified in
the notification to try the following offences,
namely:­­
(a) any   offence   punishable   under   this   Act;
and
(b) any conspiracy to commit or any attempt
to   commit   or   any   abetment   of   any   of   the
offences specified in clause (a).
(2)   A   person   shall   not   be   qualified   for
appointment as a special Judge under this Act
unless he is or has been a Sessions Judge or an
Additional   Sessions   Judge   or   an   Assistant
Sessions   Judge   under   the   Code   of   Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
4.   Cases   triable   by   special   Judges   ­  (1)
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code
of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or in
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any other law for the time being in force, the
offences   specified   in   sub­section   (1)   of
section   3   shall   be   tried   by   special   Judges
only.
(2) Every offence specified in sub­section (1)
of   section   3   shall   be   tried   by   the   special
Judge   for   the   area   within   which   it   was
committed,   or,   as   the   case   may   be,   by   the
special Judge appointed for the case, or where
there are more special Judges than one for such
area, by such one of them as may be specified
in this behalf by the Central Government.
(3) When trying any case, a special Judge may
also   try   any   offence,   other   than   an   offence
specified in section 3, with which the accused
may, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
(2 of 1974), be charged at the same trial.
(4) Notwithstanding  anything  contained  in the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),
a special Judge shall, as far as practicable,
hold   the   trial   of   an   offence   on   day­to­day
basis.”
18. Section 22 of PC Act provides that provisions of
the   Cr.P.C.,   shall   in   their   application   to   any
proceeding in relation to an offence punishable under
the   Act   to   apply   subject   to   certain   modifications.
It   is,   therefore,   apparent   that   provisions   of   the
Cr.P.C. are to be applied to trials for offence under
the PC Act, subject to certain modifications.
19. Section 220 of the Cr.P.C. relates to trial for
more than one offence,  if, in one series of acts so
connected   together   as   to   form   the   same   transaction
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more offence than one are committed and provides as
follows:
“220 ­ Trial for more than one offence ­  (1)
If, in one series of acts so connected together
as to form the same transaction, more offences
than one are committed by the same person, he
may   be   charged   with,   and   tried   at   one   trial
for, every such offence.
(2)   When   a   person   charged   with   one   or   more
offences   of   criminal   breach   of   trust   or
dishonest   misappropriation   of   properly   as
provided in sub­section (2) of section 212 or
in sub­section (1) of section 219, is accused
of committing, for the purpose of facilitating
or concealing the commission of that offence or
those   offences,   one   or   more   offences   of
falsification   of   accounts,   he   may   be   charged
with,   and  tried  at   one  trial   for,   every   such
offence.
(3) If the acts alleged constitute an offence
falling within two or more separate definitions
of any law in force for the time being by which
offences   are   defined   or   punished,   the   person
accused of them may be charged with, and tried
at one trial for, each of such offences.
(4) If several acts, of which one or more than
one would by itself or themselves constitute an
offence,   constitute   when   combined   a   different
offence,   the   person   accused   of   them   may   be
charged  with,  and   tried   at  one  trial  for   the
offence constituted by such acts when combined,
and for any offence constituted by any one, or
more, or such acts.
(5)   Nothing   contained   in   this   section   shall
affect section 71 of the Indian Penal Code (45
of 1860).”
14Page 15
20. Persons accused of different offences committed
in the course of the same transaction may be charged
jointly   as   per   Section   223   of   the   Cr.P.C.,   which
reads as under:
“223 ­ What persons may be charged jointly.­
The   following   persons   may   be   charged   and
tried together, namely:­
(a)   persons   accused   of   the   same   offence
committed   in   the   course   of   the   same
transaction;
(b)   persons   accused   of   an   offence   and
persons   accused   of   abetment   of,   or   attempt
to commit, such offence;
(c) *********
(d)   persons   accused   of   different   offences
committed   in   the   course   of   the   same
transaction;
(e) to (g) *********
Provided that where a number of persons are
charged   with   separate   offences   and   such
persons   do   not   fall   within   any   of   the
categories   specified   in   this   section,
the1[Magistrate or Court of Sessions] may, if
such   persons   by   an   application   in   writing,
so   desire,   and   [if   he   or   it   is   satisfied]
that such persons would not be prejudicially
affected thereby, and it is expedient so to
do, try all such persons together.”
21. The second supplementary charge­sheet dated 12th
December, 2011 was filed in the FIR No. RC DAI 2009 A
15Page 16
0045   dated   21st  October,   2009   wherein   following
allegations   have   been   made   against   the   petitioners
and some others:
“Allegations
1. On   21.10.2009,   the   CBI   registered
an FIR vide RC DAI 2009 A 0045 against
unknown   officials   of   Department   of
Telecommunications,   Government   of
India,   unknown   private
persons/companies   and   others   for   the
offences punishable under Section 120­B
IPC   read   with   Section   13(2)   r/w   13(1)
(d)   of   Prevention   of   Corruption   Act,
1988,   on   allegations   of   criminal
conspiracy   and   criminal   misconduct,   in
respect   of   allotment   of   Letters   of
Intent,   United   Access   Service   (UAS)
Licenses and spectrum by the Department
of   Telecommunication.   Investigation   of
the case was taken up and charge­sheets
dated   02.04.2011   and   first
supplementary   charge­sheet   dated
25.04.2011   were   filed   before   Hon’ble
Special   Judge   (2G   Spectrum   Cases),
Patiala   House   Courts,   New   Delhi,   in
which in trial proceedings are going on
and   are   presently   at   the   stage   of
prosecution evidence.
xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
3. The   eligibility   of   all   the
companies   which   were   allocated   letters
of   Intent   (LOI)   on   10.01.2008   by   the
DOT was also investigated by BI during
the investigation of this case. During
such investigation, allegations came to
notice   that   M/s   Loop   Telecom   Ltd.,
which   had   applied   for   UAS   licenses   in
21   Telecom   circles   in   September,   2007
was   front   company   of   M/s   Essar   Group.
M/s   Loop   Mobile   India   Ltd.   had   been
operating   a   UAS   license   since   2005   in
the   Mumbai   Service   Area.     It   was
alleged   that   M/s   Essar   Group   which
16Page 17
already   had   a   stake   of   33%   in   M/s
Vodafone Essar Ltd., a telecom operator
in   all   the   22   telecom   circles,   was
controlling   substantial   stake   in   the
aforesaid   2   companies   in   violation   of
the   UAS   guidelines   dated   14.12.2005and
UAS   license   agreements   signed   by   M/s
Vodafone   Essar   Ltd.   with   DOT.   It   was
further   alleged   that   the   accused
persons   belonging   to   M/s   Loop   Telecom
Ltd.   M/s   Loop   Mobile   India   Ltd   and
Essar   Group   of   companies,   fraudulently
suppressed the facts of association of
the   two   Loop   Companies   with   M/s   Essar
Group   of   Companies   while   applying   for
new   licenses   DoT,   in   order   the   DoT
considers   these   companies   as   entitles
which   are   not   substantially   controlled
by   Essar   Group.   The   said   accused
persons   therefore,   dishonestly   or
fraudulently   got   the   21   new   UAS
licenses   and   continue   to   operate   the
Mumbai License of Loop in contravention
of the applicable guidelines.
4. Investigation has been carried out
on   the   allegations   that   M/s   Loop
Telecom   Ltd.,   and   associated   persons
including   Essar   Group
persons/Companies,   cheated   the
Department   of   Telecommunication,
Government   of   India   by   concealing   the
actual   stake   holders   of   M/s   Loop
Telecom   Ltd.   behind   a   corporate   veil,
while   applying   for   and   getting   21   new
UAS   Licenses   and   got   the   21   UAS
Licenses and valuable spectrum for this
Company.”
Following facts also emerge from the background
of the matter:
“70. That after the accused persons had
cheated   the   DoT   and   fraudulently
obtained   the   Letters   of   Intent/UAS
Licenses/valuable   spectrum   in
furtherance   of   a   conspiracy   among
themselves,   several   complaints   were
received   by   the   Department   of
17Page 18
Telecommunications   during   2008­2010
alleging that M/s Loop Telecom Ltd. was
an   Essar   group   company   under   a
corporate   veil   and   was   thereby
violating   the   clause   8   of   UASL
Guidelines   dated   14.12.2005.   In   one
such matter Dot referred the matter to
Ministry   of   Corporate   Affairs   seeking
to examine the matter and open whether
the given facts and circumstances made
out a violation of the clause 8 of UASL
Guidelines.   Investigation   has   revealed
that   the   Deputy   Director   (Inspection),
Ministry   of   Corporate   Affairs,   who
examined   the   matter   in   detail,
concluded that the clause 8 of the UASL
Guidelines had been violated. …..
71. The   investigation   has,   therefore,
revealed   that   M/s.   Loop   Telecom   Ltd.
made   fraudulent   UASL   applications   for
21   circles   on   3.9.2007   by
misrepresenting the fact that they met
all   the   eligibility   criteria   including
clause   8   of   UASL   guidelines.   These
fraudulent   applications   were
accompanied   by   false   certificates   to
the   effect   that   the   company   met   the
conditions prescribed under clause 8 of
UASL   guidelines,   thereby   falsely
claiming that the applicant company was
not under any control influence of any
existing   licensee   and   that   competition
would not be compromised if 21 licenses
applied for are issued to it…….
72. The   aforesaid   facts   and
circumstances   constitute   commission   of
offences,   during   2007­08,   punishable
u/s   120­B   IPC   r/w   420   IPC,   and
substantive   offence   u/s   420   IPC,
against   accused   persons,   viz.   Ravi   N.
Ruia, Anshuman Ruia, Vikash Saraf, I.P.
Khaitan,   Ms.   Kiran   Khaitan,   M/s.   Loop
Telecom   Ltd.   (erstwhile   M/s.
Shippingstop   Dot   Com   India   Pvt.Ltd.),
M/s.   Loop   Mobile   India   Ltd.   (BPL   M/s.
Mobile Communications Limited) and M/s.
Teleholdings   Ltd.   Accused   persons   were
not arrested during investigation.”
18Page 19
From   the   aforesaid   second   charge­sheet   it   is
clear that the offence alleged to have been committed
by the petitioners in the course of 2G Scam Cases.
For the said reason they have been made accused in
the 2G Scam Case.
Admittedly,   the   co­accused   of   2G   Scam   case
charged   under   the   provisions   of   Prevention   of
Corruption   Act   can   be   tried   only   by   the   Special
Judge. The petitioners are co­accused in the said 2G
Scam case. In this background Section 220 of Cr.P.C.
will   apply   and   the   petitioners   though   accused   of
different offences i.e. under Section 420/120­B IPC,
which alleged to have been committed in the course of
2G   Spectrum   transactions,   under   Section   223   of   Cr.
P.C. they may be charged and can be tried together
with the other co­accused of 2G Scam cases.
22. In A.R.   Antulay   v.   Ramdas   Sriniwas   Nayak.,
(1984) 2 SCC 500,  this Court came across a question
whether   a   Court   of   a   Special   Judge   for   certain
purposes   is   a   Court   of   Magistrate   or   a   Court   of
Session and held as follows:
19Page 20
“23.  Once Section 5­A is out of the way in
the matter of taking cognizance of offences
committed   by   public   servants   by   a   Special
Judge,   the   power   of   the   Special   Judge   to
take   cognizance   of   such   offences   conferred
by Section 8(1) with only one limitation, in
any   one   of   the   known   methods   of   taking
cognizance of offences by courts of original
jurisdiction   remains   undented.   One   such
statutorily   recognised   well­known   method   of
taking   cognizance   of   offences   by   a   court
competent   to   take   cognizance   is   upon
receiving   a   complaint   of   facts   which
constitutes   the   offence.   And   Section   8(1)
says that the Special Judge has the power to
take   cognizance   of   offences   enumerated   in
Section 6(1)(a) and (b) and the only mode of
taking cognizance excluded by the provision
is   upon   commitment.   It   therefore,   follows
that   the   Special   Judge   can   take   cognizance
of   offences   committed   by   public   servants
upon   receiving   a   complaint   of   facts
constituting such offences.
28.  Section 9 of the 1952 Act would equally
be helpful in this behalf. Once Court of a
Special   Judge   is   a   Court   of   original
criminal   jurisdiction,   it   became   necessary
to provide whether it is subordinate to the
High   Court,   whether   appeal   and   revision
against   its   judgments   and   orders   would   lie
to the High Court and whether the High Court
would   have   general   superintendence   over   a
Court   of   Special   Judge   as   it   has   over   all
criminal   courts   as   enumerated   in   Section   6
of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Court
of   a   Special   Judge,   once   created   by   an
independent   statute,   has   been   brought   as   a
Court   of   original   criminal   jurisdiction
under   the   High   Court   because   Section   9
confers   on   the   High   Court   all   the   powers
conferred by Chapters XXXI and XXXIII of the
Code  of Criminal   Procedure,   1898 on  a  High
Court as if the Court of Special Judge were
a   Court   of   Session   trying   cases   without   a
jury   within   the   local   limit   of   the
jurisdiction   of   the   High   Court.   Therefore,
there is no gainsaying the fact that a new
criminal court with a name, designation and
qualification   of   the   officer   eligible   to
20Page 21
preside   over   it   with   powers   specified   and
the   particular   procedure   which   it   must
follow has been set up under the 1952 Act.
The   court   has   to   be   treated   as   a   Court   of
original   criminal   jurisdiction   and   shall
have all the powers as any Court of original
criminal jurisdiction has under the Code of
Criminal   Procedure,   except   those
specifically excluded.
29. Once the position and power of the Court
of   a   Special   Judge   in   the   hierarchy   of
criminal   courts   under   the   High   Court   is
clearly and unambiguously established, it is
unnecessary   to   roam   into   an   enquiry
examining   large   number   of   decisions   laying
down   in   the   context   of   each   case   that   the
Court   of   a   Special   Judge   is   a   Court   of
Session and the contrary view taken in some
other   decisions.   Reference   to   those
judgments   would   be   merely   adding   to   the
length   of   this   judgment   without   achieving
any useful purpose.”
23. In Gangula Ashok v. State of A.P., (2000) 2 SCC
504 this Court dealing with Section 193 of the Cr.PC
observed:
“10.  Section   193   of   the   Code   has   to   be
understood   in   the   aforesaid   backdrop.   The
section   imposes   an   interdict   on   all   Courts
of Session against taking cognizance of any
offence as a court of original jurisdiction.
It can take cognizance only if “the case has
been   committed   to   it   by   a   Magistrate”,   as
provided in the Code. Two segments have been
indicated   in   Section   193   as   exceptions   to
the   aforesaid   interdict.   One   is,   when   the
Code   itself   has   provided   differently   in
express   language   regarding   taking   of
cognizance, and the second is when any other
law   has   provided   differently   in   express
language   regarding   taking   cognizance   of
offences   under   such   law.   The   word
“expressly” which is employed in Section 193
denoting   those   exceptions   is   indicative   of
the   legislative   mandate   that   a   Court   of
21Page 22
Session   can   depart   from   the   interdict
contained   in   the   section   only   if   it   is
provided   differently   in   clear   and
unambiguous terms. In other words, unless it
is   positively   and   specifically   provided
differently   no   Court   of   Session   can   take
cognizance of any offence directly, without
the   case   being   committed   to   it   by   a
Magistrate.
11.  Neither   in   the   Code   nor   in  the   Act   is
there any provision whatsoever, not even by
implication,   that   the   specified   Court   of
Session (Special Court) can take cognizance
of the offence under the Act as a court of
original jurisdiction without the case being
committed to it by a Magistrate. If that be
so,   there   is   no   reason   to   think   that   the
charge­sheet   or   a   complaint   can   straight
away be filed before such Special Court for
offences under the Act. It can be discerned
from   the   hierarchical   settings   of   criminal
courts that the Court of Session is given a
superior and special status. Hence we think
that the legislature would have thoughtfully
relieved the Court of Session from the work
of   performing   all   the   preliminary
formalities   which   Magistrates   have   to   do
until the case is committed to the Court of
Session.
12.  We   have   noticed   from   some   of   the
decisions   rendered   by   various   High   Courts
that   contentions   were   advanced   based   on
Sections 4 and 5 of the Code as suggesting
that   a   departure   from   Section   193   of   the
Code   is   permissible   under   special
enactments.   Section   4   of   the   Code   contains
two   sub­sections   of   which   the   first   sub­
section   is   of   no   relevance   since   it   deals
only   with   offences   under   the   Indian   Penal
Code.   However,   sub­section   (2)   deals   with
offences under other laws and hence the same
can   be   looked   into.   Sub­section   (2)   of
Section 4 is extracted below:
“4.   (2)   All   offences   under   any   other
law   shall   be   investigated,   inquired
into, tried, and otherwise dealt with
according to the same provisions, but
subject to any enactment for the time
being   in   force   regulating   the   manner
22Page 23
or   place   of   investigating,   inquiring
into, trying or otherwise dealing with
such offences.”
24. Similar   question   came   for   consideration   before
this   Court   in  Vivek   Gupta   v.   Central   Bureau   of
Investigation, (2003) 8 SCC 628.   In the said case
the co­accused   were charged by Special Judge under
the provisions of the PC Act whereas the appellant
before this Court had been charged only under Section
420 IPC and under Section 120­B of the IPC, as in the
present case.   Having noticed the provisions of the
PC Act and Cr. PC as referred to above, this Court
held:
“15.  This  is because   the co­accused  of the
appellant   who   have   been   also   charged   of
offences   specified   in Section  3 of the  Act
must be tried by the Special Judge, who in
view of the provisions of sub­section (3) of
Section   4   and   Section   220   of   the   Code   may
also   try   them   of   the   charge   under   Section
120­B   read   with   Section   420   IPC.   All   the
three accused, including the appellant, have
been   charged   of   the   offence   under   Section
120­B   read   with   Section   420   IPC.   If   the
Special   Judge   has   jurisdiction   to   try   the
co­accused   for   the   offence   under   Section
120­B   read   with   Section   420   IPC,   the
provisions   of   Section   223   are   attracted.
Therefore, it follows that the appellant who
is also charged of having committed the same
offence   in   the   course   of   the   same
transaction   may   also   be   tried   with   them.
Otherwise it appears rather incongruous that
some   of   the   conspirators   charged   of   having
committed  the same  offence  may  be tried  by
the   Special   Judge   while   the   remaining
conspirators   who   are   also   charged   of   the
same offence will be tried by another court,
23Page 24
because they are not charged of any offence
specified in Section 3 of the Act.
17.  We are, therefore, of the view that in
the   facts   and   circumstances   of   this   case,
the   Special   Judge   while   trying   the   co­
accused   of   an   offence   punishable   under   the
provisions   of   the   Act   as   also   an   offence
punishable   under   Section   120­B   read   with
Section 420 IPC has the jurisdiction to try
the   appellant   also   for   the   offence
punishable   under   Section   120­B   read   with
Section   420   IPC   applying   the   principles
incorporated in Section 223 of the Code. We,
therefore,   affirm   the   finding   of   the   High
Court and dismiss this appeal.”
25. Admittedly,   2G   Scam   case   is   triable   by   the
Special Judge against the persons accused of offences
punishable   under   the   PC   Act   in   view   of   sub­Section
(1) of Section 4.   The Special Judge alone can take
the   cognizance   of   the   offence   specified   in   sub­
Section (1) of Section 3 and conspiracy in relation
to them.     While trying any case, the Special Judge
may   also   try   an   offence   other   than   the   offence
specified in sub­Section (1) of Section 3, in view of
sub­Section (3) of Section 4.     A magistrate cannot
take   cognizance   of   offence   as   specified   in   Section
3(1)   of   the   PC   Act.     In   this   background,   as   the
petitioners have been shown as co­accused in second­
supplementary chargesheet filed in 2G Scam case,  it
is open to the Special Judge to take cognizance of
the offence under Section 120­B and Section 420 IPC.
24Page 25
26. On the question of validity of the Notification
dated 28th March, 2011 issued by the NCT of Delhi and
Administrative Order dated 15th  March, 2011 passed by
the Delhi High Court, we hold as follows:
(i) Under sub­Section (1) of Section 3 of the PC
Act the State Government may, by notification in
the   Official   Gazette,   appoint   as   many   Special
Judges as may be necessary for such area or areas
or   for   such   case   or   group   of   cases   as   may   be
specified in the notification to try any offence
punishable   under   the   PC   Act.     In   the   present
case, as admittedly, co­accused have been charged
under   the   provisions   of   the   PC   Act,   and   such
offence punishable under the PC Act, the NCT of
Delhi   is  well   within  its   jurisdiction   to  issue
Notification(s)   appointing   Special   Judge(s)   to
try the 2G Scam case(s).
(ii) Article 233 and 234 of the Constitution are
attracted in cases where appointments of persons
to   be   Special   Judges   or   their   postings   to   a
particular   Special   Court   are   involved.     The
control of High Court is comprehensive, exclusive
and   effective   and   it   is   to   subserve   a   basic
feature of the Constitution i.e., independence of
25Page 26
judiciary.     [See  High   Court   of   Judicature   for
Rajasthan v. Ramesh Chand Paliwal  (1998) 3 SCC
72 and Registrar (Admn.) High Court of Orissa v.
Sisir   Kanta   Satapathy   (1999)   7   SCC   725].     The
power to appoint or promote or post a District
Judge of a State is vested with the Governor of
the State under Article 233 of the Constitution
which can be exercised  only in consultation with
the High Court. Therefore, it is well within the
jurisdiction   of   the   High   Court   to   nominate
officer(s) of the rank of the District Judge for
appointment and posting as Special Judge(s) under
sub­Section (1) of Section 3 of the PC Act.
(iii) In   the   present   case,   the   petitioners
have   not  challenged   the  nomination   made   by  the
High   Court   of   Delhi   to   the   NCT   of   Delhi.   They
have challenged the letter dated 15th March, 2011
written by the Registrar General, High Court of
Delhi,   New   Delhi   to   the   District   Judge­I­cum­
Sessions Judge, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi and the
District Judge­IV­cum­Addl. Sessions Judge, I/C,
New   Delhi   District,   Patiala   House   Courts,   New
Delhi   whereby   the   High   Court   intimated   the
officers about nomination of  Mr. O.P. Saini, an
26Page 27
officer of Delhi Higher Judicial Service for his
appointment as Special Judge for 2G Scam Cases.
27. In   the   present   case   there   is   nothing   on   the
record to suggest that the petitioners will not get
fair trial and may face miscarriage of justice.   In
absence of any such threat & miscarriage of justice,
no   interference   is   called   for   against   the   impugned
order   taking   cognizance   of   the   offence   against   the
petitioners.
On   11th  April,  2001,   when  the   2G  Scam   Case   was
taken   up   by   this   Court,   this   Court,   inter   alia,
observed as follows:
“Acting on such basis, this Court has given
directions   for   establishing   a   separate
Special Court to try this case and pursuant
to such direction, a Special Court has been
constituted   after   following   the   due
procedure.
We   also   make   it   clear   that   any   objection
about   appointment   of   Special   Public
Prosecutor or his assistant advocates or any
prayer for staying or impeding the progress
of   the   Trial   can   be   made   only   before   this
Court and no other court shall entertain the
same.   The trial must proceed on a day­to­
day basis.
All these directions are given by this Court
in   exercise   of   its   power   under   Article   136
read   with   Article   142   of   the   Constitution
and   in   the   interest   of   holding   a   fair
prosecution of the case.”
27Page 28
28. From the aforesaid order it is clear that this
Court   passed   the   order   under   Article   136   read   with
Article 142 of the Constitution, in the interest of
holding a fair prosecution of the case.
29. In Rupa Asbhok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra and another,
(2002)   4   SCC   388,  this   Court   held   that   a   final
judgment   or   order   passed   by   this   Court   cannot   be
assailed   in   an   application   under   Article   32   of   the
Constitution by an aggrieved person, whether he was a
party to the case or not. For the said reason also,
it is not open to the petitioner to indirectly assail
the order passed by this Court in 2G Scam case.
30. We find no merit in these writ petitions, they
are   accordingly   dismissed.     The   Special   Court   is
expected   to   proceed   with   the   trial   on   day­to­day
basis to ensure early disposal of the trial.   There
shall be no order as to costs.
……….…………………………………………….J.
(G.S. SINGHVI)
………………………………………………….….J.
(SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)
NEW DELHI,
JULY  1 , 2013.
28

 

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