The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Madras High Court to place the habeas corpus petition of arrested Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji before three judges “at the earliest” in view of a split verdict pronounced earlier in the day.
A bench of justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta also told the Madras High Court chief justice that the habeas corpus petition of Balaji should be decided by a new bench expeditiously.
Earlier in the day, a Madras High Court division bench pronounced a split verdict on Balaji’s petition.
Justices J Nisha Banu and D Bharatha Chakravarthy of the high court gave the ruling on the habeas corpus petition filed by Balaji’s wife against her husband’s “illegal detention”.
The high court bench also directed the registry to place the matter before the chief justice for assigning it to a three-judge bench.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, told the top court bench that since a split verdict has been pronounced by the high court, the matter be transferred to the apex court for final adjudication.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Balaji, said that after a split verdict by a division bench, the matter is placed before a three-judge bench and opposed Mehta’s request.
The bench said it would request the high court for adjudication of questions of law at the earliest and posted the matter for further hearing on July 24.
On June 21, in a relief to Balaji, the top court had refused to stay a Madras High Court order allowing to shift him to a private hospital for treatment notwithstanding a fervent request by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED, which arrested Balaji in connection with an alleged cash-for-jobs scam in the state’s transport department, had moved the apex court against the Madras High Court order.
Balaji, 47, underwent coronary bypass surgery at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday and is said to be doing fine.