SC upholds HC judgment on Pon Manickavel; lets him probe idol theft cases in TN
The Supreme Court on Monday (April 8) allowed the continuance of retired police officer Pon Manickavel as the investigation officer of the idol theft cases in Tamil Nadu. However, it restrained him from arresting anyone, during the course of investigation, and bestowed that responsibility on the newly-appointed Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP). The Apex Court also ruled that was no need for a court-monitored probe on the ground that it would burden the High Court.
“It is not necessary for the High Court to burden itself with scrutinising each and every report. There being a higher officer posted in the Idol Wing, the progress and result of the investigation ought to be reported to him (the ADGP). A report could be submitted in the HC when specific directions were required,” the SC order said.
The Supreme Court felt the High Court could have asked the state to consider re-employing Pon Manickavel or fix some honorarium, in addition to his pension. The High Court had asked the state to give the officer full pay and emoluments after he demits office at the end of his term as a special officer.
Pon Manickavel had made his submission to carry out the investigation without any emoluments.
It all began on July 31, 2018 after the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Economic Offences Wing, recommended the Director-General of Police (DGP) to transfer all cases under investigation to the CBI.
Based on the recommendation, the DGP wrote to the additional chief secretary on August 1, 2018. Concurring with the view of the DGP, state government transferred all cases being investigated by the idol wing to the CBI in February, 2019. The state government also appointed an ADGP to head the idol wing.
Challenging the state government’s order, a PIL was filed by a few individuals, based on which the High Court on November 30, 2018 passed an order quashing the GO transferring all cases to the CBI.
After this, two private petitioners moved the SC seeking quashing of the HC judgement.