NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Madras High Court's Chief Justice to take a fresh call on fixing the matter for suo motu hearing before a particular bench the case related to disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu's Revenue Minister K K S S R Ramachandran and his wife Aadhilakashmi P Visalatchi.
A bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra said the Madras High Court's single judge in the case should have taken Chief Justice's approval before exercising suo motu jurisdiction in a corruption case.
The court noted as per report, no prior approval was taken from the High Court's Chief Justice by a single judge bench exercising suo motu jurisdiction in the matter.
"We deem it appropriate to say that the suo motu matters should be considered by the Chief Justice; he may either take the matter himself or to another judge as he may consider appropriate. Thereafter the matter will proceed on merits," the bench said.
The bench also wondered that the trial court has been acquitting all the ministers in the case.
Senior advocates A M Singhvi and Sidharth Luthra, appeared for the petitioners and senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi represented the Madras High Court.
The bench said the single judge bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh should not have ordered for numbering of the case and fixing the matter of before his court without approval of the Chief Justice.
Singhvi contended the single judge's order can cause chaos and havoc.
Defending the HC's order, Dwivedi said the approval by the High Court's Chief Justice had subsequently been granted.
The bench said the Chief Justice is the master of roster and any exercise of jurisdiction should certainly emanate from his office.
"The single judge should ideally have asked the Chief Justice to allot suo motu registration of cases," the court said.
The High Court's single judge bench of Justice Venkatesh had on August 21, 2023 declared the discharge order by Virudhunagar Principal Sessions Court in the disproportionate assets case on July 20, 2023 as illegal.
The court had on January 29, 2024 asked the High Court's Registrar General to inform if prior approval of the High Court's Chief Justice was taken for exercise of suo motu jurisdiction.