CHENNAI: Madras High Court judge Anitha Sumanth on Monday recused herself from hearing the plea moved by Karti Chidambaram and his wife seeking to stall the proceeding before the special court pertaining to the case filed by the Income Tax department in the alleged non-disclosure of income by the duo to a tune of Rs 6.38 crore.
The judge decided that the documents seized from Advantage Strategic Private Limited was the basis for the cases against the petitioners, as was claimed by counsels for the I-T department M Sheela and N Baskar. As justice Anitha Sumanth had represented the company when she was an advocate, the counsels submitted that it would not be appropriate for her to hear the current plea.
Judge Sumanth recused and directed the registry to forward the plea to the Chief Justice for posting before another court. With the attempts to stall the case failing, senior advocate KTS Tulsi appearing for the petitioners immediately made an urgent mention before Justice P Rajamanickam, few minutes before lunch and sought for an urgent hearing of another plea moved by Karti in the same case.
The judge accepted to hear the plea post lunch. Advocates Baskar and Sheela objected to the hearing. “The crime numbers mentioned by the petitioners are incorrect. They require to be rectified first. Moreover, the cases are not pending before the additional chief metropolitan magistrate court at Egmore as claimed. They are pending before the special court for cases against MPs and MLAs,” the counsels said.
Recording the submissions of the counsels, the judge wondered how the plea can be heard by him as he is not the portfolio judge. To this, senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram submitted that they made a representation before the Chief Justice who had, in turn, directed the registry to list the matter before this court.
“If so where is the order passed by the Chief Justice. Without such order how can I entertain the plea? There is no note from the office of the Chief Justice. The petition has been listed before this court since you made an urgent mention before lunch. I was not aware of the facts of the case. That apart, standing counsels for the department are raising several objections which requires to be rectified,” Justice Rajamanickam said.
The court then directed the registry to post the matter before the Chief Justice to decide the further course of the hearing.
The senior advocates before the closing hours on Monday made a mention before the Chief Justice and sought for an hearing of the case on Monday ( January 20), a day before the special court for MPs and MLAs is scheduled to hear the plea.