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The Supreme Court today referred to a larger bench a batch of petitions challenging the stay granted in trials in graft cases by higher courts despite a specific prohibition against it under the Prevention of Corruption Act. An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, referred the vexatious legal issue to a three-judge bench which will hear the matter on August 29. The top court's verdict will decide the fate of 45 cases pending in various courts where trial has been stayed by the apex court and high courts in corruption cases. The bench referred the matter to the larger bench after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for one of the petitioners whose trial has been halted, sought four weeks time to make his submission. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the court that stay in 45 cases had resulted in trials in 146 matters under the Prevention of Corruption Act getting stalled. He contended before the bench, also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, that some of these appeals were pending in the apex court for the last 15 years and most of the cases were Delhi-centric. The solicitor general said the stay in graft cases were granted despite a statutory ban under Section 19(3)(c) of the Act which stated, "No court shall stay the proceedings under this Act on any other ground and no court shall exercise the powers of revision in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any enquiry, trial, appeal or other proceedings.
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