VIJAYAWADA: The State government on Tuesday requested Justice Rakesh Kumar to recuse himself from hearing petitions filed against the proposed auction of government properties as part of Mission Build Andhra Pradesh. In an affidavit filed in the high court, the government expressed concern that Justice Rakesh Kumar may be biased against it and his continuance on the division bench could deprive it of a fair hearing. In a detailed affidavit, the government cited the judge’s earlier observations against it and press reports on the same to claim that his remarks made even before hearing the case completely showed he was biased. The affidavit was filed by Mission of AP special officer Praveen Kumar on behalf of the government.
The affidavit also claimed that the judge had made “unwarranted” comments on alleged constitutional breakdown in the State and said that against this backdrop, justice may not be served if he continued to hear the petitions.
Further, the affidavit went on to assert that the judge’s observations amounted to crossing the Lakshman Rekha. If Constitutional institutions encroach on one another, there will be a constitutional crisis, it pointed out. It also cited a Supreme Court verdict to state that a petitioner could seek recusal of a judge if there are reasonable grounds to apprehend bias.
It may be recalled that several petitions were filed in the high court against the government proposal to auction properties in Visakhapatnam, Guntur and other districts. A division bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice D Ramesh has been hearing them from December 11. The affidavit was filed ahead of the next hearing on December 17.
‘Crossed the Lakshman Rekha’
The affidavit asserted that the judge’s observations amounted to crossing the Lakshman Rekha. If institutions encroach on one another, there will be a constitutional crisis, it said.