SC notice to J&K Accountability Commission on plea challenging its powers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notice to Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission (SAC) on the state government’s appeal challenging the anti-graft body’s ‘suo motu’ powers to look into complaints against public functionaries, including ministers and legislators, in graft cases.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra sought the response from the anti-graft body on the plea filed by the Jammu and Kashmir government against a High Court verdict restoring the SAC’s powers to take up such cases on its own.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, considered the submission of advocate Shoeb Alam, counsel for the state government, while condoning the delay in filing of the appeal and listed it for hearing on April 27.
The state government in its plea has said that the commission’s power of suo motu initiation of proceedings against a public functionary was “bad in law”.

“The Accountability Commission in clear derogation of the provisions of the Act, has by virtue of Rule 9 of the Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Regulations, 2005, clothed itself with the power to initiate suo motu action when there is no substantive provision under the Act vesting such a power in the Accountability Commission. Rule 9 is ultra vires the Act and all proceedings initiated in pursuance thereof are without any jurisdiction,” the appeal said.

A division bench of the high court had set aside the judgement of a single judge bench and restored the panel’s powers of initiating suo motu proceedings against any minister, legislator or people’s representative on the basis of anonymous complaints or media reports.
The division bench had said that striking down of Regulation 9 of the Regulations of 2005 by the single judge bench had not denuded the SAC of its power of suo motu initiation of proceedings against a public functionary and that power was still intact. (Agencies)