(Prayer: This Writ Appeal is filed under Section 4 of the Karnataka High Court Act, 1961, praying to set aside the impugned order dated 4/3/2022 (At Annexure-A), passed by the learned single judge in pursuance of IA No.1/22 filed by the Appellant in WP No.2238/2021 to the extent wherein, the impugned order has discontinued the interim order dated 14/12/2021, and has got granted a stay on all proceedings under the PMLA, including issuance of summons and etc.)
Ritu Raj Awasthi, CJ.
1. This intra-Court appeal is directed against the impugned order dated 04.03.2022 passed by the learned Single Judge in W.P.No.22238/2021 insofar as it relates to discontinuing the interim order dated 14.12.2021 passed in favour of the appellant-petitioner in the said petition. Before the learned Single Judge, while the appellant herein was the writ petitioner, the respondents herein were arrayed as respondents. The said petition was filed by the appellant challenging the impugned communication dated 27.10.2021 issued by respondent No.1 to the petitioner and for other reliefs.
2. Heard Sri. Mukul Rohatgi and Sri. Sajan Poovayya, learned Senior counsel for the appellant. We have also heard Sri. Madhukar Deshpande, learned counsel for respondent No.1. For the order proposed, notice to respondent No.2 is dispensed with.
3. Though the matter is posted for preliminary hearing, with the consent of both sides, the matter is taken up for final disposal.
4. In addition to reiterating the various contentions urged in the Appeal and referring to the material on record, learned Senior counsel for the appellant invites our attention to the order dated 14.12.2021 passed in the aforesaid petition by the learned Single Judge in order to point out that this Court restrained respondent No.1 from arresting and detaining any of the officials of the petitioner-Company, till the next date of hearing. The said interim order was extended by the learned Single Judge from time to time up to 04.03.2022, when the order impugned in the present appeal was passed by the learned Single Judge.
5. Learned Senior counsel submitted that on 03.01.2022, the appellant-writ petitioner filed an application, I.A.No.1/2022 for a direction restraining respondent No.1 from continuing with any proceedings under the quashed ECIR/BGZO/09/2012 and from taking any precipitative/coercive action against the petitioner and its officials and Directors including but not limited to issuing summons. On 04.03.2022, the said application was posted for consideration before the learned Single Judge. It is pointed out that up to that date, the interim order dated 14.12.2021 passed by this Court had been continued and remained in force and operative between the parties. It is also submitted that as on 04.03.2022, despite the interim order dated 14.12.2021 being passed in favour of the petitioner against respondent No.1, no application seeking vacation/modification of the said interim order dated 14.12.2021 had been filed/made by respondent No.1 and as such, the subject matter of hearing before the learned Single Judge on 04.03.2022 was only for the limited purpose of considering the application, I.A.No.1/2022 filed by the appellant. Under these circumstances, except for considering and passing appropriate orders on I.A.No.1/2022 filed by the appellant in the pending W.P.No.22238/2021, there was no occasion or warrant for considering vacation/discontinuation of the interim order dated 14.12.2021 passed in the said petition.
6. Learned Senior counsel submit that despite the aforesaid undisputed facts and circumstances, though learned Single Judge allowed I.A.No.1/2022 in part, he has erroneously proceeded to vacate the interim order dated 14.12.2021 by directing the same to be discontinued pending decision in the petition; it is submitted that the impugned order insofar as it relates to discontinuing the interim order dated 14.12.2021 was neither the subject matter of hearing on 04.03.2022 nor was the same necessitated or warranted in the circumstances of the case and consequently, the aforesaid portion of the impugned order passed by the learned Single Judge deserves to be quashed.
7. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondent, in addition to supporting the impugned order submitted that the aforesaid interim order dated 14.12.2021 was only a time bound interim order passed in favour of the appellant, which was being extended from time to time only up to 04.03.2022, on which date the learned Single Judge was fully justified in hearing both the sides and proceeding to pass the impugned order by discontinuing the interim order dated 14.12.2021 and consequently, the impugned order passed by the learned Single Judge does not warrant interference by this Court in the present appeal, which is liable to be dismissed. Learned counsel however fairly submits that on 04.03.2022, the Writ Petition was posted for consideration of I.A.No.1/2022 before the learned Single Judge as contended by the appellant.
8. We have given our anxious consideration to the rival submissions and perused the material on record including the impugned order.
9. As rightly contended by the learned Senior counsel for the appellant, the material on record discloses that pursuant to the appellant filing I.A.No.1/2022 seeking further interim reliefs, the matter was listed on 04.03.2022 only for the purpose of consideration of the said I.A.No.1/2022. Undisputedly, the interim order dated 14.12.2021 passed in the petition in favour of the appellant had been extended from time to time and the same remained in force even as on 04.03.2022. Under these circumstances, while considering I.A.No.1/2022 filed by the appellant, there was no occasion or warrant for the learned Single Judge to discontinue/vacate the earlier interim order dated 14.12.2021, especially when no application in this regard was filed/made by the respondent. It is therefore clear that the said portion of the impugned order insofar as it relates to discontinuing the interim order dated 14.12.2021 deserves to be set aside and the said order dated 14.12.2021 deserves to be continued till disposal of the petition by the learned Single Judge by leaving all rival contentions open to be considered in accordance with law.
10. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, though several contentions have been urged by both sides in support of their respective claims, without expressing any opini
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on on the merits/demerits of the rival contentions, we deem it just and appropriate to dispose of this petition by setting aside the portion of the impugned order to the extent it directs discontinuation of the order dated 14.12.2021 and by directing the said interim order dated 14.12.2021 passed in W.P.No.22238/2021 to continue to remain in force and be operative between the parties till disposal of the petition by the learned Single Judge. All rival contentions are kept open and no opinion is expressed on the same and the learned Single Judge is requested to dispose of the main Writ Petition as expeditiously as possible. Subject to the aforesaid observations and directions, the present Appeal is disposed of.