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The Division Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta questioned the basis of Swamy’s allegations against Shashi Tharoor as well as the Delhi Police, and asked about the sources of his information.
Subramanian Swamy retorted and said,
“I bear 100% responsibility for this PIL. This is not my first PIL. I have appeared before many courts. I have filed several petitions in the past. Many of them are reported judgments and I have been successful in most of them. I have also been the Law Minister of the country.”
Swamy further stated that this was not the first hearing in the matter and such questions have not been raised by the Court earlier. He said that he can file another affidavit to substantiate his allegations.
The Bench, however, did not accede to Swamy’s suggestion of filing another affidavit. It said,
“This is unfortunate that the Court is being used like this.”
ASG Sanjay Jain assured the Court that no stone will be left unturned in investigating the case and that the police is doing its best regardless of the status of the persons involved.
The Bench asked Jain as to whether the government agrees with Swamy’s allegations that Shashi Tharoor interfered with the investigation. The ASG replied in the negative.
Appearing for Sunanda Pushkar’s son Shiv Menon, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa reiterated his earlier submissions that this PIL is being used for publicity. He stated that even before the hearing could commence, the petition was circulated in the media.
Justice Muralidhar then turned to Swamy’s lawyer and co-petitioner Ishkaran Bhandari and said,
“We expect you to do your homework and use language which is commensurate with the working of the court. We don’t expect Dr. Swamy to be careful with such things as he is here for other reasons, fired up with his zeal. But as a lawyer and an officer of the court, you must be careful with drafting.
Also, I would like to give you some unsolicited advice. As a professional, you must be careful about sharing your views with the media. We have all been the members of the Bar. If such things are done too often, one loses objectivity.”
The Court observed that PILs filed in the Delhi High Court must comply with the Rules. It was also directed that hereafter, every PIL filed in the Delhi High Court should be supported with an affidavit categorically stating which part of the petition is based on personal knowledge and which part on belief of the petitioner.
It was also observed by the Court that Swamy, on being specifically asked about the basis of his allegations, says that he shall file another affidavit regarding the same, thus admitting that he has information that was not filed before and which ought to have been filed,
“This is perhaps a textbook example of political interest dressed up as a PIL. The Courts should be careful while dealing with such petitions. It is not that political persons cannot file PILs but the Court should be extra cautious.”
The Court said that it could not be persuaded that the investigation is botched up or it is under the influence of anyone and that it is assured that no effort will be spared in investigating the case.
Before concluding, the Court asked Swamy and others to act responsibly with regard to sharing information with the media and said,
“The Court expects circumspection from the litigants.”
Read the order below.