Democracy will be imperilled if judiciary and investigating agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) fail to act independently, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday.
The remarks were made by a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale while hearing the plea filed by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse to quash the summons issued in an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by ED in October 2020.
“We have always believed that judiciary, agencies like RBI, CBI, ED should act independently. There is threat to the very democracy if these agencies don’t act independently,” the Court said.
Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda appearing for Khadse sought interim protection from any coercive action during the pendency of the plea.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh assured the Court that ED will not take any coercive action till Monday, January 25.
Although the Court posted the petition for hearing to Monday, it asked ED why protection granted to Khadse could not be extended beyond Monday.
“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?” the Court asked.
The Court posed the query as it noted that Khadse had been co-operating with the ED by appearing for questioning as and when the investigating agency issued summons.
The Court inquired why ED would arrest someone if the person is co-operating with the investigation and honouring the summons issued by the ED.
Singh said that he will explain to the Court during the next hearing why the petition is premature and ought to dismissed.
The matter will be taken up for hearing on January 25.