The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Bihar government for not placing facts before the Patna High Court, which granted bail to controversial RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin in a murder case. Counsel for the Nitish Kumar government, which has the RJD as its coalition partner in the State, faced searing questions in the apex court, which rebuked the State government for not being serious in pursuing the case against Shahabuddin. “Why have you approached the court only after his release? Were you in slumber till he got bail? This is a peculiar case. But the question is on whose instance, and who is behind, this peculiarity? Why you did not challenge the bail granted to Shahabuddin in 45 cases? Why did you realise only when he came out of jail? If everything was fair, why would this case come to us,” a Bench comprising Justices P.C. Ghose and Amitava Roy said, and clarified that by peculiarity, it meant negligence.
The observations came after senior advocate Dinesh Dwivedi, appearing for Bihar, sought cancellation of Mr. Shahabuddin’s bail and said the decision to release the RJD leader was improper as the High Court had ignored the relevant material in the case. He said the High Court could not have granted him bail unless there was a special reason or a medical urgency. The senior lawyer admitted there were “anomalies” in the work of the State government in the case. To this, the Bench said: “We can understand your difficulty and the only thing we can say is that we understand everything.” Mr. Dwivedi said, “I admit the anomalies. I am not in any way justifying the actions of the State government. We were handicapped at that time. But my submission is that the relevant material has been ignored in the case.” The Bench then asked him: “Why should you be handicapped? You are the State. It was the duty of your lawyer to inform the High Court about the correct facts of the case. It was your duty to inform the High Court that a revision petition has been filed in the Sessions Court by Shahabuddin. Why didn’t you tell the High Court at that point of time? The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on Thursday.