Health and Fitness

Centre seeks quashing of order directing Home Secy to hand over papers, pen drive

THE UNION government has sought to quash a magistrate court order, which had directed the Union Home Secretary to hand over documents and pen drive to the Mumbai Police for its probe in the documents leak case filed under Official Secrets Act.

In a revision appeal filed before the sessions court, the Union government has submitted that the plea filed by the state government seeking documents for the probe was vague and it didn’t establish the nature of the documents. “If this is allowed, it would lead to chaos since summons would be issued on such vague parameters and then contempt filed, alleging that “all” documents have not been handed over, but there being no clarity on which were the documents to be handed over,” stated the appeal.

The state government had referred to a press conference by Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in March 2021, where he had read out contents of a confidential letter addressed to the then Director General of Police. It was submitted that Fadnavis had also said that he had handed over documents to the Union secretary.

The Mumbai Police has filed a case against unknown officials, claiming that confidential data including call data records were leaked.

“…assuming whilst denying that the Leader of the Opposition had handed over papers relating to a personal matter such as a wedding invitation to the applicant herein, the same can’t and would not be relevant to the investigation,” the appeal stated, adding that it was thus imperative that the documents and digital devices sought are identified and their relevancy to the probe is considered.

The magistrate court, while allowing the state government plea, had said that the Union secretary was in possession of the said documents and pen drive, and directed its handover.

Representing the central government, lawyer Shreeram Shirsat sought a stay on the order on Monday. He told the sessions court that the magistrate court had directed the Union home secretary to submit the documents by January 10 and an extension has been sought to furnish the documents, pending the appeal filed. The court issued notice to the state government but refused to grant a stay. It will hear the appeal next week.

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