The Supreme Court on Monday directed a trial court in Varanasi to supply an eligible copy of the charge sheet to Congress MP Randeep Singh Surjewala in a 23-year-old criminal case in which he is an accused. The top court was hearing a plea filed by Surjewala against the March 20 order of the Allahabad High Court which had declined to quash the criminal case against him before a Varanasi court. The high court, however, had directed that in case Surjewala files an application for discharge before the lower court, the same be considered and decided expeditiously within six weeks. While hearing his plea, a top court bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath noted the submission of senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Surjewala, that the trial is pending for over 20 years and his client was not even served the copy of the charge sheet.
"We find that it will not be in the interest of justice to permit the discharge application to be heard unless the petitioner has been served with the copy of the charge sheet. "We direct the trial court judge to ensure the supply of an eligible copy of the charge sheet and thereafter hear the case in accordance with law," the bench said. The top court clarified that it has not expressed anything on the merits of the case. The high court, in its order, had also directed that no coercive action would be taken against the Rajya Sabha MP for a period of two months or till the disposal of the discharge application, whichever is earlier. The case dates back to 2000 when Surjewala, who was then national president of the Youth Congress, was booked for allegedly creating ruckus while protesting against alleged false implication of Congress leaders in the Samvasini scandal at Varanasi.
Disposing of the application filed by Surjewala under section 482 (inherent powers of high court) of the Criminal Procedure Code, Justice Rajiv Gupta observed, "From perusal of the material on record and looking into the facts of the case, at this stage, it cannot be said that no offence is made out against the applicant." Surjewala was leading a demonstration organised in Varanasi on August 21, 2000, against the alleged false implication of Congress leaders in Samvasini scandal relating to women inmates of a protection home. During the demonstration, the Congress leader along with his supporters allegedly indulged in damaging property, stone pelting and prevented the public servants from discharging their duties. A criminal case was lodged against him and others at the Cantt police station in Varanasi. At present, the trial is going on against them at an MP/MLA court in Varanas