NEW DELHI: Yet another Supreme Court judge, Justice N V Ramana, withdrew himself from hearing a petition against interim CBI director M Nageshwar Rao on Thursday, citing personal reasons.
This makes it the third recusal by judges in this matter. Earlier, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice A K Sikri had distanced themselves from hearing the case.
NGO Common Cause has filed public interest litigation which, apart from seeking fresh norms for appointment of CBI directors, has challenged Rao’s appointment as the interim director.
During a short hearing on Thursday, senior lawyer Dushyant Dave sought to argue but Justice Ramana expressed inability to hear the matter and said the case “will have to go to some other bench”.
On being asked the reason, Justice Ramana disclosed that he has known Rao because the CBI officer also belongs to his home state Andhra Pradesh.
“I also attended Rao’s daughter’s wedding. His son-in-law is also known to me since he is a practising advocate,” said Justice Ramana.
Dave then complained that everyone has been recusing from the case and that Justice Ramana should have this matter placed on Friday.
The judge replied, “Listing is the prerogative of the Chief Justice. We can only say that matter should be placed before the CJI for placing it before the appropriate bench.”
In a separate development, the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as director general of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security. “Multiple causes of action have been combined, one having no connection with the others,” said a bench headed by CJI Gogoi while refusing to entertain the plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma.
Verma faces action for defiance
The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to take action against Alok Verma for refusing to take charge as the director general of fire services after he was removed as CBI director. According to sources, the MHA will put all retirement benefits of the former CBI chief on hold and will initiate disciplinary action against him. Verma, who was to retire on Thursday, was on asked to take charge of the fire services department on Wednesday. Home ministry sources said that Verma’s resignation had not been accepted as there was a pending inquiry against him and hence he was asked to report to duty.
The former CBI chief was shunted out of the agency by a high-powered selection panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, just two days after being reinstated by the Supreme Court. He was transferred as director general of fire services, civil defence and home guards. Following the decision, Verma resigned from the IAS saying natural justice had been scuttled.