Justice Nazeer recuses himself from Belgaum issue in SC

Supreme Court Judge S Abdul Nazeer on Tuesday recused from hearing a Maharashtra government’s original suit filed in 2004 challenging the transfer of Belgaum, (now Belagavi) to Karnataka in 1956.

Justice Nazeer, who was sitting in a three-judge bench presided over by Justice A K Sikri and comprising Justice M R Shah, withdrew himself from hearing the matter as soon as it came up for consideration.

“List the matter before a bench of which one of us (Justice Nazeer) is not a member, after obtaining orders from the Chief Justice of India,” the bench ordered.

Earlier, the Union government questioned the maintainability of the suit. The court had also observed whether an original suit could be filed after 48 years of reorganisation of the states.

Karnataka had also maintained that under Article 3 of the Constitution, only the Union government has been entrusted with the power to reorganise, alter or diminish areas of the states. This cannot be questioned by the states, it had said.

It had also contended that the view that linguistic considerations can be the sole basis for reorganisation has been severely doubted and not followed historically as well.

The apex court had on December 13, 2012 framed a preliminary issue whether the suit, challenging the provisions of the States Reorganization Act, 1956 and Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960, under Articles 14 (equality) and 29 (protection of interest of minorities) of the Constitution, is not maintainable in view of Article 3 of the Constitution.

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