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Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and five other BCCI officials received a reprieve with the Supreme Court staying a Calcutta High Court's directive to initiate criminal proceedings against them for filing "false" affidavits in the Jagmohan Dalmiya expulsion case. A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam stayed the impugned judgement after upholding the plea of Pawar and the BCCI officials that the High Court acted erroneously in passing the directions for criminal proceedings. Pawar and the other BCCI officials took the plea that the High Court did not give them the opportunity to present their view and thus violated the principles of natural justice. The bench said it was wrong on the part of the High Court to have passed such an order as legally it was supposed to have conducted an inquiry into the allegation, recorded a finding and then directed registration of a case. "The High Court has to conduct an inquiry and was bound to record a finding and then make a complaint," the apex court observed when senior counsel K K Venugopal, who appeared for Dalmiya, opposed the stay. The bench rejected Venugopal's argument wherein he cited an earlier Supreme Court ruling that had upheld a similar direction for registration of criminal cases for perjury. The said case referred to by the counsel related to an issue where the trial court had recorded a finding on the basis of which it had directed registration of a criminal case, the bench pointed out. Besides Pawar, others against whom the Calcutta High Court had ordered registration of criminal cases were BCCI president Sashank Manohar, former secretary Niranjan Shah, Ratnakar Shetty (Chief Administrative Officer), N Srinivasan (Secretary) and Chirayu Amin, junior Cricket Committee Chairman. The Calcutta High Court had on 12th November directed initiation of criminal proceedings against them for allegedly filing false affidavits in the Dalmiya expulsion case. The court's order had come eight months after Dalmiya, a former BCCI president, alleged perjury against Pawar and Board officials and sought criminal proceedings against them for producing "false" documents. All the accused BCCI officials have challenged the ex-parte order directing the Registrar (Original side) to initiate criminal proceedings under section 195 of the Cr P C (prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants for offences against public justice and for offences relating to documents given in evidence) at an appropriate court.
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