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SC larger bench to revisit its 2010 verdict in Lalu Prasad DA case

SC larger bench to revisit its 2010 verdict in Lalu Prasad DA case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has decided to revisit its 2010 verdict in the disproportionate assets case of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in which it had held that the state government has no authority to file an appeal against acquittal in cases probed by central agencies.

The issue cropped up as the Chhattisgarh government had to rush to the apex court in 2011 challenging the acquittal of Amit Jogi, the son of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, in a 2003 murder case as the CBI had not filed the appeal within the stipulated period.

However, during the interregnum, the apex court's three-judge bench in 2010 had delivered a verdict in the Yadav DA case that the CBI, which was the prosecuting agency in the fodder scam, had the right to challenge the orders of the subordinate court and the state government had no locus standi.

When Jogi's matter came up last week in the apex court, the Chhattisgarh government doubted the correctness of the 2010 verdict in Yadav's case and a bench of Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph directed that the matter be referred to a larger bench.

"Counsel for the State of Chhattisgarh seeks to doubt the judgment of this Court in Lalu Prasad Yadav and others versus State of Bihar and others, which is of a three-judge bench," the bench said.

"We are thus of the view that it may be appropriate that the matters be placed before a three-judge bench itself so as to avoid further duplication of the hearing. The matters be thus, placed before Chief Justice of India for appropriate directions," it said.

Advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for the Chhattisgarh government, said that the apex court's judgement in the Lalu Prasad Yadav case is per incuriam (bad in law).

He said the 2010 judgement needs to be reconsidered as it affects the substantial rights of all states to file an appeal against acquittal of an accused in a case investigated and prosecuted by the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other central agency.

On April 1, 2010 the top court had held that the Bihar government did not have the authority to file an appeal in the Patna High Court against the acquittal of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi in a disproportionate assets case which was prosecuted by the CBI.

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