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Apex court gives Lalu a moral victory

May 10, 2005 20:59 IST

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Tuesday stood vindicated as the Supreme Court accepted his plea that it could not have decided the composition of a Patna high court Bench to hear his petition challenging grant of sanction for his prosecution in a disproportionate assets case.

"We totally agree with the contention of Lalu," said a Bench comprising Justice S N Variava, Justice AR Lakshmanan and Justice S H Kapadia, which had on April 26 requested the acting chief justice of Patna high court to constitute a Bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Chandramouli Prasad for disposal of Lalu's appeal within a month.

This had evoked strong reaction from the acting chief justice of the high court as well as the railway minister.

While the acting chief justice adjourned the matter on the judicial side without constituting the Bench, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief filed an application making no bones about his reservations against Justice Prasad.

The apex court Bench, after reading the 10-page order of May 6 passed by the acting chief justice of the High Court, said it agreed with the contention of Lalu before the high court that the prerogative of constituting the Bench rested with the acting chief justice and not the Supreme Court.

"Now, let the chief justice fix a Bench. We have no problem. We are not interested in one or the other judge. If Lalu feels we should not do it, we will not do it. Only thing is that instead of advancing detail arguments before the high court, he should have told us about it," it said.

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