Plea against J&K anti-graft body’s powers, SC seeks reply

New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Jammu and Kashmir’s State Accountability Commission (SAC) on an appeal challenging the SAC’s suo moto powers to look into complaints against erring public functionaries.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud asked the SAC to respond to the plea filed by the state government challenging the state’s High Court verdict.

A division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had set aside the judgment of a single judge bench and restored the SAC’s powers of initiating suo motu proceedings against public functionaries, including ministers and legislators, on the basis of anonymous complaints or media reports.

The single judge held that the panel had no suo-moto powers to proceed against accused public functionaries.

The state government said the SAC’s power was “bad in law”.

In its plea, the government said: “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 court posted the matter for further hearing on April 27.

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