NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up social activist Harsh Mander for questioning the intent of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s in the Assam foreigners deportation case, and dismissed his application seeking recusing of CJI from the case.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India also struck down Mander’s name as the petitioner in the case while replacing it with the Supreme Court Legal Services Authority. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who was earlier representing Mander, was appointed as the amicus curiae in the case.
“There is a sense of subconscious bias shown by the CJI since the petition was filed by me to end the indefinite detention of alleged foreigners. but it was converted into a case deporting thousands of people,”
Mander told the bench. At this point, CJI interjected. “What if we say that you have been set up by the Government of Assam to file this application seeking recusal of the Chief Justice of India. How will you defend yourself?”
“Is this how you behave? Is this how you come to the court? A litigant questioning the intent of the Chief Justice. You are doing good work on your field, but you should have left the case to your lawyer. Are we not entitled to ask questions?” the CJI asked Mander.
CJI Gogoi then pointed out that the comments and observations made by him during the previous hearings that had been part of the debate, but these should not be considered the opinion of the judges. “The opinion of the judge is reflected in the court’s order.”
The CJI asked Mander to show some faith in judges. “Oral observations are part of the debate. Learn to trust your judges. The day you don’t trust your judges, you have had it.”Justice Sanjiv Khanna backed the CJI. “When we ask questions, we want answers. Till we pass an order, we are open to change.”