The Delhi High Court on Tueday dismissed a plea seeking prosecution of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam and imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on the lawyer for filing a "malafide" petition in "gross abuse of law".
"The present petition appears to have been filed with malafide intention with a view to gaining cheap publicity. This is my view that the application under section 156 (3) of the CrPC (seeking direction to police to lodge a case) is nothing but a gross abuse of the process of law," Justice Ajit Bharihoke said.
Justice Bharihoke also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on Santosh Kumar Suman, a lawyer, for filing the petition and asked him to deposit it with the registrar of the court within 15 days. The fine would finally be deposited with the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
Suman had filed the petition against the judgement of a Sessions court which had upheld the order of a magistrate refusing to ask the police to probe the role of the prime minister in the scam.
Dismissing the petition, the court, in its order, said "on perusal of the allegations, it is obvious that there is no allegation on fact which may show connivance of the respondent (PM) in the aforesaid episode of alleged offer of bribe (to members of Parliament)."
"On my query to the petitioner (Suman), he states that his complaint is based on the media reports and not on the basis of personal knowledge or any authentic information. It is apparent that the application does not disclose commission of any offence by the respondent."
The lawyer had sought prosecution of the prime minister alleging that he was the beneficiary as the offence was committed to save the then United Progressive Alliance government.
The lawyer, in his petition, said that earlier he had approached the court of a Metropolitan Magistrate seeking a direction to the station house officer of Parliament Street police station for registration of the case.
Later, he approached the court of a sessions judge which also upheld the order of the magistrate saying the application did not disclose any offence.
The High Court also considered the fact that the Crime Branch of police has already filed a charge sheet in the case.Former Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh, two former Bharatiya Janata Party MPs and L K Advani's former aide Sudheendra Kulkarni and two others have been chargesheeted for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to bribe MPs ahead of a confidence vote in Lok Sabha in July, 2008.