In an unprecedented step, Sahara group chief Subrata Roy’s counsel on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court bench to indicate the contours of its order on his proposal to deposit Rs 10,000 crore, which is the precondition for his release from Tihar Jail.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan’s plea left the bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar, which had reserved the order on Roy’s proposal on April 21, speechless.
“If it is aye, then all is well. If it is no, then we can utilize the time to work for placing a better proposal,” Dhavan continued. He added, “The temperatures have soared and the gentleman (Roy) is not keeping all that well. An early order would help.”
The bench, which had assembled to hear contempt of court proceedings against the man who had thrown ink at Roy on March 4, got up and walked out of the court room without uttering a word. Roy has been lodged in Tihar since March 4.
On March 26, the bench had ordered release of Roy and Sahara directors Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Chaudhary from jail provided they deposited Rs 10,000 crore as part payment of the Rs 20,000 crore which is due from Sahara Housing and Sahara Real Estate as per the court’s August 31, 2012 judgment. The Saharas have so far deposited Rs 5,120 crore.
After rejection of their numerous proposals, the two Sahara companies, Roy and the directors had proposed on April 21 that they would deposit Rs 3,000 crore within three days of their release and Rs 2,000 crore by May 30 to take care of the cash component of the condition for their release.
They said a bank guarantee for Rs 5,000 crore would be furnished in favour of market regulator Sebi on or before June 20 but wanted the condition — it must be from a nationalized bank — to be relaxed so as to enable them to get it from a scheduled commercial bank.
On Wednesday, advocate Manoj Sharma was produced before Justices Radhakrishnan and Khehar to face contempt of court charges for throwing ink at Roy on March 4 while the Sahara chief was being produced in court for disobeying the SC’s summons for personal appearance on February 26.
The bench asked Sharma to file his affidavit to the court’s notice why criminal contempt proceedings be not initiated against him for attempting to obstruct the justice delivery system by impeding appearance of a person in court in response to summons.
The court was concerned by the increase in the number of such incidents in courts all over the country, where accused persons either get assaulted or humiliated by vigilante groups or individuals attempting to grab the spotlight, given the large media presence to cover the case.
“These type of incidents are happening all over the country. Whenever an accused goes to court, he is made to face such incidents. All this is because of the large media presence there. We are concerned. The accused are under court protection,” the bench said.
Dhavan suggested that the apex court could identify a separate entry for those to be produced before the court so that the accused is not made a public spectacle by the media and protected from being further humiliated by such incidents.