Legally Explained: Why and how SC dismissed a petition seeking to reopen investigation of Amit Shah role in Sheikh encounter?

challenged it. The high court dismissed it on 21 October 2015.

It is only after Kamble, Mander filed his challenge to the discharge of Amit Shah.

So the high court’s dismissal of Mander’s challenge ended up in the SC Was the high court judgment in this regard a reasoned one?


The high court, like the Supreme Court, doubted his bona fides, but had given detailed reasons for its doubts.

Specifically, what are the high court’s grounds of rejecting Mander’s petition seeking to reopen Amit Shah’s role in the killings?

First, the high court asked why Mander, if motivated by social interest and responsibility, did not file his petition before the limitation period for challenging the discharge of Amit Shah expired.

It pointed out that even Rubabuddin filed his application against discharge after the limitation period, which was condoned.

Was it the only reason?

No. There were other reasons too. It asked Mander, why he waited till the dismissal of Kamble’s application.

Second, it asked why Mander did not challenge the discharge of the other accused in the case.

Third, it observed that Mander showed sudden interest in the matter after a period of over 10 years, which could not be explained.

OK This much is understood. How did the high court deal with the legal arguments advanced by Mander’s counsel?

Mander’s counsel wanted the high court to exercise its inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC, to reopen the case against Amit Shah. The high court disagreed that the process of the court has been abused in this case, which necessitates exercise of inherent jurisdiction.

How did Mander’s counsel rebut the argument that he lacked standing in the case?

Mander’s counsel relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Subramanian Swamy (2013) 10 SCC 465, wherein Swamy had sought an authoritative pronouncement of the true purport and effect of the different provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, so as to take a juvenile out of the purview of the Act.

It was argued that like Mander, Swamy had no locus standi (no sufficient connection) in that case, yet the court agreed to hear him.

How did the SC permit Swamy in that case, though he was, like Mander, a third party/stranger to the case?

The Supreme Court reasoned that Swamy was seeking adjudication which had implications beyond the case. It was held that the interpretations of the JJA would have effect on all juveniles, who may come in conflict with the law

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Author: Legal Discipulus

A law student, blogger and intraday trader. “Perhaps the most important thing I learned was about democracy, that democracy is not our government, our constitution, our legal structure. Too often they are enemies of democracy.” - Howard Zinn

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