SNC Lavalin case: SC issues notices to CBI, Kerala govt

SNC Lavalin case: SC issues notices to CBI, Kerala govt

Several important questions of law involved

A bench of Justice R V Ravindran and Justice B S Sudarsan Reddy said it would hear the plea of the state government and the CBI before staying the proceedings initiated against Vijayan in a special court.

The court said it would examine, among other things, the power of courts to entertain such petitions after the governor has taken a decision on the issue. Vijayan has challenged the governor’s decision and also sought direction to quash the charge sheet filed by the CBI against him. The bench admitted Vijayan’s petition directly saying it involved several important questions of law. The questions included how much influence a ruling political party or its chief can impose upon its government. The CBI court has issued notice to Vijayan to appear before a court at Kochi on September 24 in the Rs 374 crore SNC Lavalin scam, in which he is the seventh accused. 

Vijayan is accused of wrongfully awarding a contract to SNC Lavalin, a Canadian company, for renovating three power plants when he was the state power minister in 1997.

He said the CBI had written a letter to the governor seeking sanction for his prosecution under Section 197 of the CrPC on February 2, 2009. The governor referred the matter to the cabinet, which on May 6 said it was not necessary to grant sanction to prosecute him.

Despite this decision, the governor, wrongly assuming that he had jurisdiction and power to grant sanction on his own (over-riding the decision of the council of ministers), issued an order on June 7 according sanction to prosecute him for the alleged offences under IPC Section 120 B, read with 420, and Sections 13 (2) and 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, senior advocate Fali S Nariman said, appearing for Vijayan.

Vijayan said the question raised in this proceeding was whether the governor of a state had discretionary power to act on his own to grant sanction for the prosecution of a former public servant independently without the aid and advice of the council of ministers. Senior Counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Kerala said that the state was supporting Vijayan’s stand.  

‘File status report on quota for disabled’

New Delhi, DHNS: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Centre for not providing 3 per cent reservation for the physically challenged in government jobs, despite enacting a law in this regard 13 years ago.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan directed the Centre to file a status report identifying the posts and percentage of jobs given to the physically challenged in the country.

In a petition, the National Federation of the Blind had sought a direction from the apex court to the government for computing the number of posts reserved for persons with disabilities on the basis of the strength of the cadre (both identified and unidentified).