The chief justice of India Altamas Kabir yesterday told off senior advocate Arvind Dattar who, in the matter of SEBI V Sahara, had objected to his passing an order contradictory to an order passed by a two judge bench of the court - before which bench the matter is still pending.
A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar had on 31 August ordered two Sahara group companies to refund the Rs 24,000 crore they had collected through optional fully convertible debentures, to SEBI with 15 per cent interest by 30 November, because Sahara had violated regulatory norms.
Yesterday Kabir’s bench, also comprising justices SS Nijjar and J Chelameswar, allowed the Sahara group to complete the payment of refund to SEBI in two months’ time, ending in the first week of February, contrary to the 31 August order.
The bench reasoned that it was allowing Sahara’s application to protect the interest of investors. The investors, however, were not given a hearing before this order.
Dattar, appearing for SEBI, insisted that propriety called for the matter to be heard by the bench before which it was pending, and that Kabir must record this submission in the court’s order.
"We will record what we feel to record. We cannot record what you say,” shot back Kabir.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh insisted that the investors’ and Sahara’s application should not be disposed of without hearing the investors, which suggestion was again dismissed by Kabir in, reportedly, an “angry tone”. [Hindustan Times]
Singh was appearing for the Universal Investors Association, and wanted the court to take up a writ petition filed on behalf of the investors. Kabir’s bench rejected the plea saying that the investors had no rights since they were not party to the main petition. [The Hindu]
Legally India Supreme Court postcard writer Court Witness tweeted: “Would completely understand if both or one of Radhakrishnan & Khehar are supremely upset with Kabir for undermining them in this way.”