Hindenburg Report and Adani: SC Sets up Expert Committee Headed by Justice A.M. Sapre (Retd)

A status report, in a ‘sealed cover,’ is expected to be submitted by the committee in two months. Its remit is to examine the regulatory framework, with a view to protect investors, strengthen investor awareness and look at contravention of law, if any, by the Adani Group.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today set up an expert committee to “examine issues” arising out of US shortseller Hindenburg’s report on the Adani Group. The report is to be submitted to the apex court in a “sealed cover”.

The committee, headed by retired judge Abhay Manohar Sapre, will include veteran bankers K.V. Kamath and O.P. Bhat, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, retired Justice J.P. Devdhar and advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan.

NDTV reports that the Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has said that the market regulator SEBI should complete its ongoing investigation in two months and file a status report.

The committee of experts will suggest measures to strengthen frameworks, investigate the Adani row and suggest measures to strengthen the statutory framework. LiveLaw has more details on who those comprising this committee are.

Also read: Everything You Need to Know About Short Selling, and How it is Done in India

The order is in response to petitions related to serious allegations made against the Adani Group in the Hindenburg report. Business Line reports that the committee will look into “extant regulatory framework to protect investors, strengthen investor awareness, contravention of law, if any, by the Adani Group”.

The order was passed by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala. The Supreme Court also requested the committee to complete its work “expeditiously”.

The Tribune reports that there are four PILs on the issue pending before the top court – one each by advocates M.L. Sharma and Vishal Tiwari; Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jaya Thakur and one Manish Kumar – seeking a probe into the Hindenburg-Adani report.

Who is Justice Sapre?

Justice Abhay Mohan Sapre retired from the Supreme Court in 2019. He had served as judge in the Supreme Court since 2014, during the tenure of then Chief Justice R.M. Lodha. He was elevated to the top court by the collegium, a year after having been appointed chief justice of the Gauhati high court in Assam.

A 1954 Jabalpur-born advocate, Justice Sapre studied at Model High School, Jabalpur, and graduated from the Government Arts College before securing his law degree from University Teaching College in Jabalpur. He started practicing as an advocate in the city in 1978.

He went onto practise in civil, constitutional, taxation, company law and labour laws. He was appointed additional judge in Madhya Pradesh in 1999 and two years later as permanent judge in the high court.

Justice Sapre was then transferred to Rajasthan high court and then assumed charge in Jodhpur in 2010. He was also a judge of the Chhattisgarh high court from 2012 to 2013. In 2013, he was appointed as the first chief justice of the Manipur high Court.

  • He was on the nine-judge bench which gave the landmark privacy judgement of 2017 (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v Union of India).
  • He is also known for being on the two-judge bench that reiterated that all assets in a Hindu Undivided Family are presumed to be joint property belonging to all family members in (Adiveppa v Bhimappa). The family member who asserts otherwise was given the burden of proving their claim.
  • In 2017, Justice Sapre was appointed as the chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The Tribunal was constituted in 1990 to adjudicate among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
  • In 2020, he was also appointed as the chairman of the committee on road safety which was set up by the Supreme Court while hearing a PIL on road safety in India.