New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to stay two notifications of the Centre, which had taken away the power of the city government's Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to prosecute officials of Union government, saying a vacation court cannot grant the relief sought by a fresh PIL.
A bench of justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta said as the issue was already before a regular bench, it being a vacation court will not pass any orders at this stage and tagged the PIL with another petition filed by a law student, who has also challenged the notifications.
"Vacation court can't grant stay. Let the regular division bench hear it. It is seized of the matter in another PIL," the bench said.
Both petitions are now likely to be heard by the high court on August 5. The vacation bench was hearing a PIL filed by a law firm, Sudeer Associates, which has said the notifications are creating "shield" for corrupt employees of the central government.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, assisted by central government standing counsel Jasmeet Singh, submitted that no notice needs to be issued in the matter as a regular division bench is hearing the issue.
The law firm has contended that the notifications create a "different class of persons protected from normal course of prosecution" and questioned whether this can be done by a notification.
"Only an Act of Parliament can do this," the PIL said, while seeking quashing of the Centre's May 21, 2015 and July 23, 2014, notifications which take away the power of ACB to take cognisance of cases of corruption in respect of Delhi police and employees of the central government.
The petition has said that ACB in other states and Union territories have the power to take cognisance of cases of corruption against police and central government employees.
It said even in Delhi, "in last 22 years" it was not thought necessary to take away power of ACB and claimed there was no justification to do so now when the people of the capital have given a massive mandate to present dispensation to fight corruption....