Danger to democracy if the judiciary, CBI, ED, does not function independently: Bombay High Court

Democracy would be endangered if the judiciary and investigating agencies such as ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) do not act independently, the High Court of Bombay said on Thursday.

When hearing the plea filed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse to quash the summons given in an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) recorded by ED in October 2020, the comments were made by the Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale. Judiciary and bodies, such as RBI, CBI, ED, should behave separately.

When these entities do not operate independently, there is a challenge to democracy itself.During the pending plea, Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda, appearing for Khadse, sought temporary immunity from any coercive action. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the Court that until Monday, 25 January, ED would not take any coercive action.

“What heavens are going to fall if the petitioner is given protection for few days. Why should there be so much insistence on protection not being granted?” asked the Court.

The Court asked why if the individual cooperated with the investigation and honored the summons given by the ED, ED would arrest anyone.

On January 25, the matter will be brought up for a hearing.

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