SC to hear CBI plea against relief to Jaising NGO on November 14

Indira Jaising and Anand Grover

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will hear on November 14 the CBI’s appeal challenging the Bombay HC order restraining the agency from taking coercive steps against senior advocate Indira Jaising’s NGO Lawyers Collective in an alleged Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act violations case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said there was another PIL seeking action in the matter and both will be heard together.

The HC had granted the relief to the NGO while hearing a plea seeking quashing of an FIR registered by the CBI against it. Challenging this, the agency said that the HC order effectively “is an order granting anticipatory bail to the accused/Respondents as contemplated under Section 438 CrPC; that too without satisfying the mandatory conditions mentioned in S 438”.

The CBI pointed out that the apex court in a 2017 case “had unequivocally held that it is impermissible in law for the Courts to pass interim orders directing the investigating agency to take ‘no coercive steps’ against the accused while exercising 482 CrPC or Article 226 jurisdiction as the same amounts to an order granting anticipatory bail under Section 438 CrPC, passed without satisfaction of the conditions of the said provision, and as such, any order of such nature is completely unsustainable and bad in law”.

The HC could only have stayed the investigation after coming to a definite finding that the FIR is unsustainable and bad in law, it added.

The HC had passed the interim “order on a completely untenable reason that the FIR is based solely and entirely on the inspection of Report of 2016”, the CBI’s appeal said.