The Supreme Court today rejected a petition challenging the discharge of BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
"Rejected," a bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan said after nearly an half-an-hour hearing on the plea filed by former bureaucrat and social activist, Harsh Mander.
Mander had challenged the Bombay High Court order which had upheld the discharge of the BJP president by the trial court in the case.
The bench, while giving relief to Shah, said, "When the person is genuinely aggrieved then the issue takes a different colour but when the person is not remotely connected and wants to revive the case then it's a different matter."
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mander, said, "Public must get the feeling that nobody is above the law."
To this, the court said it does not consider anyone "above the law".
Sibal said, "CBI has filed the charge sheet but I am unable to understand why did they turn turtle. Even his (Sohrabuddin) brother who filed the case against Shah withdrew his case later."
He said it is a high profile case which was transferred from Gujarat to Maharashtra and added that justice to the people of India should be done.
At the outset, the bench questioned the locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court) of Mander in the case.
Sibal cited some earlier judgments of the apex court and said any member of society can have a locus in the case.
He said the high court should not have dismissed Mander's application and could have taken suo motu (on its own motion) cognizance of the issue.
He said, "CBI has filed a charge sheet and had made Shah accused number 16. It is a case of murder."
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Shah, cited various judgments of the apex court and questioned the locus of Mander in the case.
He said, "This court has already held that if one is not connected with the case, he cannot interfere with anyone's trial."
Salve added, "It cannot be a case that if the State is not going to file an appeal, I will file the appeal."
He also said this court has held that a third party cannot be allowed to interfere in the trial unless it is an aggrieved party.