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ML Sharma PIL goes after Chidambaram for contempt in SC

The Supreme Court will hear a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking suo motu contempt action against former home minister P Chidambaram for perjury and misleading the apex court and the Gujarat High Court on alleged LeT links of Ishrat Jahan.

The PIL has also sought contempt against the then Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director for misleading and holding back information about Ishrat Jahan being a LeT operative from the apex court.

The PIL has sought direction that all criminal proceedings and actions taken against Gujarat Police personnel and others involved in the 2005 killing of Ishrat Jahan be declared unconstitutional.

“Have you filed the petition,” a bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit asked petitioner, advocate ML Sharma. When he said he had, the bench directed that the petition be listed in due course.

Basing his PIL on the deposition of Pakistani-American terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley that Ishrat Jahan was an LeT activist, Sharma also sought “proper compensation” to the Gujarat personnel who were prosecuted for her killing.

Seeking contempt against Chidambram, Sharma has referred to the union home ministry’s affidavit in the Gujarat High Court wherein it had stated that Ishrat Jahan was not an LeT operative. Sharma said that it the dilution of its earlier affidavit which had pointed to her LeT links.

The position taken by the home ministry in the subsequent affidavit was in sharp departure from the position taken by it in its earlier affidavit where in it had described Ishrat Jahan and her associates Javed Shaikh, Zeeshan Johar and Amjad Ali Rana as Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.

Seeking initiation of the contempt against the then CBI director, Sharma has said that the CBI too had concealed this fact in the Supreme Court in its affidavit. CBI filed a charge sheet and supplementary charge sheet declaring Ishrat Jahan as an innocent Muslim student and prosecuted various police officers.

Raising a question of law, Sharma, in his PIL, asked if the protection of life and personal liberty that is guaranteed under constitution’s article 21 to Indian citizens was also available to the LeT members. He also asked if the killing of a terrorist in any manner was an offence under the penal code and police personnel involved are liable to be punished.

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