The Supreme Court ruling upholding the Securities and Exchange Board of India or SEBI in the Hindenburg allegations against Adani Group shows that the rule of law has resurfaced, veteran lawyer Harish Salve said today.
The former prosecutor also said that another important point of the ruling is the emphasis on separation of powers, which will help democracy flourish in the long run. “In the long run, democracy cannot survive if these two vital principles are ignored,” he said.
In an exclusive interview with NDTV this evening, Mr Salvi, who has represented India several times in international courts, said the ruling was “more than just a vindication” of the Adani Group.
“It brings back the importance of the rule of law and the separation of powers,” Salvi said, noting that in the years after 2014, there was an atmosphere of mistrust in the country after allegations of fraud.
He added, “The rule of law became a victim. The principle of separation of powers was violated when the courts began to interfere in investigative and regulatory bodies,” declaring that it took nine years to restore constitutional powers.
In its ruling today, a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said the allegations of OCCRP – an organization funded by billionaire George Soros and others – could not be a basis for doubting SEBI's investigation into the Hindenburg case.
SEBI investigated 22 of the 24 cases linked to the allegations by US-based Hindenburg Research.
Responding to the petitioners' appeal for transfer of the case, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, JP Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the power to transfer the investigation “must be exercised in exceptional circumstances”.
The court said that “such powers cannot be exercised in the absence of convincing justifications,” noting that there is no evidence to justify such a transfer.
SEBI has been given three months to complete the investigation in the remaining two cases.
“The rule of law is supreme,” Mr. Salvi said, “under which unsubstantiated allegations can only be treated as inputs and not as evidence, by regulatory bodies.”
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