SC terms plea for recusal of judge ‘bench hunting’

The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra reserved the order on the plea seeking his recusal for October 23. 

Published: 17th October 2019 10:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th October 2019 10:57 AM   |  A+A-

Justice Arun Mishra

Justice Arun Mishra

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised the attempts made for recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from a Constitution bench hearing challenges to provisions of the Land Acquisition Act saying it was nothing but a ploy of bench hunting which, if allowed, would destroy the institution.
The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra reserved the order on the plea seeking his recusal for October 23. 

“This is nothing but an attempt of bench hunting and you want a person of your liking to be in the bench. If we allow your request..., it will be destroying the institution. This is a serious issue and history will judge it that even senior counsels were involved in this attempt,” Justice Mishra told senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for a farmer association.

Defending the demand for recusal, Divan said a judge must avoid any reasonable apprehension of bias, otherwise there would be erosion of public confidence. The prayer for recusal was for upholding the integrity of the institution, he contended.

This led Justice Mishra to observe that the plea seeking his recusal was sponsored. “In case we succumb to these attempts, this would be the blackest chapter in the history. These forces are trying to compel the court to act in a particular way. Onslaught is going on to tame this institution. This cannot be the way, must not be the way, and shall not be the way.”

Without naming anybody, Justice Mishra said, “These forces which are trying to compel this court to act in a particular way...are compelling me to continue. Otherwise, I would have recused.”

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