#RecusalWatch: Eight SC judges recused from fourteen cases last week

Recusal Watch

Our quest to understand why judges of the Supreme Court recuse from cases continues. As expected, we succeed in unravelling some, and leave the rest to the speculation of the readers. As in the previous edition of Recusal Watch, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul continues to top the list in this edition too. He recused from five cases out of the fourteen recusals tracked by us in Supreme Court last week.

Here are the details:

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

  1. Centre for Public Interest Litigation v Union of India (CA 10660/2010)

A Civil Appeal of 2010, it pertains to the monitoring of the CBI’s investigation into the 2G case. The hearing now includes the consideration of many IAs by the Bench.

Justice Kaul sat with Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud when he recused from hearing it on March 3.

The case will now be listed before another bench in the first week of April 2017.

In the hearing on February 10, IA No.78, and IA Nos. 82-86 were considered by the Court. Subramanian Swamy, applicant in IA 78, was granted more time to place further material to support his allegations of illegality committed by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in granting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.

2. Abhay Singh v Ministry of Railways (WP [C] 178/14)

A civil writ petition filed in 2014, seeking details of materials used for furnishing the interiors of railway coaches and the names of the laboratories where they were tested to ascertain their quality.

The petitioner, who appears in person, alleges that the Railways is using substandard materials that endanger passengers’ lives during incidents like fire. Inferior materials used in cushions, flooring, and wood partitions etc. release toxic fumes, causing asphyxiation of passengers during fires, he alleges.

The case has entered an interesting phase, with the petitioner bringing on record additional documents.

The matter was listed on Februray 27 before the same Bench, when Kaul J. chose to recuse. The reason could perhaps be the fact that Justice Kaul’s brother, Neeraj Kishan Kaul – an Additional Solicitor General for the Union government – appeared in the case earlier. The matter will now be listed before another Bench.

3. I.T.C.LTD v Mr.Pradeep Anand & Ors. (CA 466/2007)

This is an arbitration matter listed before the Chief Justice’s Bench. Justice Kaul recused from hearing it on February 28. It will now be listed before another bench on March 21.

4. Suraksha Foundation v Union of India (WP[C] 793/ 2015)

The petitioner seeks installation of speed governors in public transport vehicles. Both CJI Khehar and Justice Kaul recused from hearing this case on February 27.

Interestingly, the CJI had heard this case on January 16, while sitting with Justice Chandrachud, when the Bench had planned final disposal of the case on February 27. Besides, the Bench had on January 16, reprimanded several states for not filing their responses in this case, and had asked the Transport Secretaries of states which did not file their responses, to appear personally on February 27.

5. Rajive Raturi v Union of India (WP[C] 243/2015)

This is a case dealing with rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. Justice Kaul recused from hearing it on February 27.

Justice L Nageswara Rao

Justice L Nageswara Rao recused from hearing two cases, both on February 27.  Both are civil SLPs, registered in 2016, and listed before Justice SA Bobde and himself.  Here are the details:

1. Swami Nath Puri & Ors v Shamshuddin & Ors. (SLP [C] 13962/2016)

Arising out of the judgment of Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court.

2. Enercon GMBH and ANR v Wind World (India) Ltd & Ors. (SLP [C] 9930/2016)

Arising out of the judgment delivered by the High Court of Bombay.

Justice Navin Sinha

Justice Navin Sinha, another judge who was recently elevated to the Supreme Court, recused from hearing two SLPs, one civil and another criminal. Both cases are appeals against decisions of the Chhattisgarh High Court, where Justice Sinha last served as Chief Justice.

Both matters were listed before Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha on February 27. The cases are:

1. Vijay Kumar alias Lolo Panika v State of Chhattisgarh (SLP [Crl.] 868/2017)

2. Dau Ram Sahu (D) THR.LRS. & Ors v. Suresh Kumar & Ors. (SLP [C] 28240 of 2016)

Justice UU Lalit

Justice UU Lalit recused from hearing two appeals, one civil and another criminal, listed before a Bench presided by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on March 1. As they are old cases, Justice Lalit perhaps was a counsel to one of the parties, before his elevation to the Bench.

1. D Kumar v The Custodian (Crl Appeal No.1309/2006)

2. Bombay Hospital v Sushma Sharma (C.A.2127/2007)

Justice Deepak Gupta

1. Tilak Raj v Rajesh Kumar & Ors. (SLP [C] 28579/2009)

Justice Deepak Gupta recused from hearing the above case probably because it arose out of a judgment of Himachal Pradesh High Court, where he served as a judge earlier. It was listed before the Bench presided by Justice Madan B Lokur on March 3.

Justice RK Agrawal

1. Technology Park Ltd. v State of U.P.& Anr. (SLP [C] 21430/2010)

The case is a civil SLP arising out of a judgment of the Allahabad High Court. It was listed on March 3 before a Bench of Justices AM Sapre and RK Agrawal, when Justice Agrawal chose to recuse.

Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman

1. BM Gupta v State of Delhi (SLP [CRL] 9675/2013)

Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman recused from hearing the above criminal SLP, arising out of a judgment of the Delhi High Court.

Image courtesy: Supreme Court of India Annual Report