SC upholds suo-moto powers to J&K SAC

JAMMU, JUL 21: Rejecting appeal of the former minister Manohar Lal Sharma, the Supreme Court has upheld the suo moto powers of the Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commi-ssion. The former minister had challenged the suo moto power credited to state Accountability Commission by a Division Bench of the J&K High Court.
Chairperson of Commission Justice B A Khan appeared in the court personally alongwith his Sr Counsel Colin Gonslaves to defend the case.
Sharma who is facing a complaint before the Commission had filed appeal against the judgement of J&K High Court granting suo moto power to SAC.
Sharma’s counsel later diverted to tell the court that SAC had entertained a defective complaint against him. On this the court asked him to approach the Commission to seek consideration of his plea.
A three Judges Bench of Supreme Court of India Comprising Justice Deepak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar while dismissing the SLP filed by Manohar Lal Sharma Ex-Minister, upheld the judgment of Division Bench whereby Division Bench restored the Suo-moto powers to J&K State Accountability Commission.
On February 1, 2016, A Division Bench of State High Court comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice BS Walia had restored the suo-moto powers upon the highest anti graft body of the state i.e. State Accountability Commission. The Division Bench while reversing the judgment of Writ Court observed that chairperson and members of SAC are to be appointed by Governor on recommendations of Committee comprising High Constitutional Authorities viz Chief Minister, Speaker of Legislative Assembly, Chief Justice of the High Court, Law Minister and Leader of Legislative Assembly . This high ranking constitutional body is reposing trust in making recommendations for their appointment in the persons who have held the constitutional posts.
Division Bench further held that apprehension projected by counsels about abuse of provisions of SAC Act 2002 by sending anonymous/pseudonymous complaints or initiating proceedings on the basis of press reports cannot be a ground to deny power of initiation of suo-moto proceedings to SAC in as much as, chairperson/ members of commission are those persons, who have held Highest Constitutional Posts and in their appointment, confidence has been reposed in them by constitutional authorities of the state, who constitute the selection committee and by not less than Governor, who is the highest constitutional authority in the state.
Division Bench further said that discussion does lead to a legal conclusion that SAC is an authority catapulted to a position higher than that of a statutory authority and is possessed of the powers of initiating suo-moto proceedings.