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When BJP and Congress were on the same side before the Supreme Court today (facing P Bhushan)

Cong & BJP: Uneasy court-fellows
Cong & BJP: Uneasy court-fellows

The BJP and the Congress today both found defending themselves as appellants in a case before the Supreme Court, which is likely to hear it in detail after the summer vacation.

The two SLPs in the case are strangely titled Indian National Congress v Union of India and BJP v Union of India, as if both the former and the present ruling parties at the Centre have a dispute with the Government, which either of them led or are currently leading, respectively.

The appeal of both the parties were against the division bench judgment of the Delhi high court in March 2014, which directed the Central Government to relook and reappraise the receipts of the political parties and identify foreign contributions received by foreign sources as per law declared, and take action as contemplated by law. The high court had fixed a deadline of six months for compliance with the order.

The matter came up as item 42 before Court No.3 after 1 pm, when the bench comprising justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan, was about to retire for lunch.

Instead of the lead appellants or respondents, Prashant Bhushan, counsel for Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) which was the petitioner before the Delhi high court, began to make submission, saying the high court had given detailed judgment in the case, and that foreign donations running into crores of rupees had been found to have been credited to the party accounts.

He was immediately corrected by an opposing counsel, saying “it is not crores”.

Justice Khehar then intervened to tell Bhushan that time was the issue, as the bench does not want to eat into his lunch time, and observed that Prashant Bhushan is known to take his lunch always on time, thus making everyone including Prashant Bhushan laugh in the courtroom.

When Khehar asked Bhushan how much time he would require, he said 20 minutes, and counsel for other parties said they would require an hour each.

The bench then decided to adjourn the hearing to a day after the summer vacation.

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