A retired judge of the Supreme Court and former chief justice of Bombay high court, Justice MB Shah, will be the vice-chairman of the Special Investigations Team (SIT) constituted to monitor the probe into black money stashed abroad. The SIT will be chaired by former Supreme Court judge, Justice BP Jeevan Reddy.
A direction to this effect was issued by the Apex court, on Monday. A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice SS Nijjar directed that the High-Level Committee (HLC) constituted by the government to look into the issue of black money would “forthwith” be a part of the SIT.
The SIT will monitor the investigation and the steps being taken to bring black money stashed away in foreign banks.
Justice Shah, 73, was appointed as judge of the Gujarat high court on January 28, 1983 and was chief justice of the Bombay high court when he was elevated to the apex court in December 1998. He retired from the Supreme Court in September 2003. “I have not yet received any order from the Supreme Court or notification from the government, following the order.
Therefore, I’m not in a position to talk about my new task,” justice Shah said when contacted by DNA. When asked whether his consent was taken prior to his appointment as vice-chairman of the SIT, justice Shah said: “It is an order of the Supreme Court.”
Justice Shah is currently chairman of the ‘Commission of Enquiry for illegal mining of iron ore & manganese’ that was constituted by the Union government last year.
He has been discharging his duties from his office in a government bungalow in Shahibaug area of Ahmedabad.
On Monday, the judge was busy as usual with the work of the enquiry commission he chairs. When asked about what he expected his task to be as vice-chairman of the SIT, justice Shah said: “I cannot say anything as the Apex court has given the order today. All that will be decided later as I’m not the chairman. I will take charge as and when the notification is issued.”Justice Shah, who refused to say anything on the issue of black money, is clear in his views on the judiciary and the justice delivery system. To a question about the backlog of pending cases and the unfilled vacancies in the judiciary, he said, “It is not an easy task. The recruitment of judges should be made in a phased manner. Only hardworking and competent judges should be appointed.”
He said that people now had faith and high expectations only from the judiciary. “Our judiciary is competent and more judges of integrity should be inducted,” he said.Justice Shah lives in Naranpura. As chairman of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission between 2003 and 2008, he had given some landmark judgments. He has also worked for disposal of cases through Lok Adalats in Gujarat and Maharashtra.