Supreme Court judge takes exception on his recusal request

Supreme Court judge takes exception on his recusal request

The Supreme Court on Monday objected to a plea for recusal of a judge from hearing a case related to a sexual harassment charge  against a former apex court judge.

A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and A M Khanwilkar, however, allowed senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the victim, to make such a mention before the chief justice’s court for hearing the matter before a bench, whose members had not served with the accused judge.

Arguing for transferring the matter from the Delhi High Court to the apex court, Indira asked if Justice Khanwilkar, who had earlier been a judge in the Bombay High Court  where the accused judge had been chief justice, would like to hear the matter.

“Yes, he was the chief justice...I had an occasion to share the bench with him... “(I wonder) How serious is your objection because recusal is my personal decision,” Justice Khanwilkar said.

The counsel submitted that the very object of the transfer petition was to ensure that there was no bias.

Decisions challenged

To this, the bench said even full-court decisions of the high courts (on the administrative side) are challenged on the judicial side even though the bench hearing such cases are part of the decision.

The bench, which was about to list the matter for final hearing, asked the counsel to approach the chief justice’s court if she wanted the matter to be heard by some other bench.

Appearing for the Union government, Additional Solicitor General Tushan Mehta, however, objected to Indira’s plea, saying, “I have serious reservations over her submission...this issue (recusal) should be decided by this bench only.”

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the accused judge, also submitted that if the plea was allowed, most of judges would become ineligible to hear the matter.

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