On January 11, Justice J Chelameswar decided to recuse from hearing a case, after passing the order. It was a civil contempt petition filed by Sant Lal Gupta and Others against the alleged contemner, Umesh Kumar Jain & Others.
Justice Chelameswar, sitting with Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, had just passed an order directing the alleged contemnors to hand over possession of the property in dispute within a week to purge themselves of the contempt, and to remain present on the next date of hearing.
Shortly after the order was passed, and after the counsel for the petitioner and the alleged contemnors left the Court, some of the alleged contemnors, mostly ladies, rushed to the Court wailing loudly and saying something in Hindi, which Justice Chelameswar could not understand.
Justice Chelameswar cited this as a reason for recusing from the case. The order can be read here.
Among the other recusals from January 4 to January 12, both justices RK Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre recused from hearing four cases each.
Justice Agrawal first recused from hearing Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Nagpur v. Income Tax Settlement Commission, a civil SLP against the Allahabad High Court’s order passed last year.
The second case he recused from was Energy Watchdog’s challenge to the appointment of BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, and Shashi Shankar to the board of ONGC. Patra was appointed as a Non-Official Director (NOD) while Shankar was made the Chairman & Managing Director. The Delhi High Court dismissed the challenge on November 6 last year.
Justice Agrawal also recused from hearing advocate Seema Sapra’s writ petition, which lists the Ministries of Home Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology, Delhi Police, CBI, and Google India as respondents, on January 12. Along with Agrawal J, Justice Sapre too recused from hearing this case. Her petition will now be listed before another bench on January 19. As a petitioner, she appears in person.
Both Justices Agrawal and Sapre also recused from hearing Manubhai Hargovindas Patel v. Pamela Bali Prasad, in which the petitioner appears in person, on the same day. This is a transfer petition (criminal) filed last year.
Justice Sapre recused from hearing two more SLPs, namely, Ajay Bhomik v Krishna Bhomik and Gopalkrishan Agrawal v Pooja @ Roobi Agrawal, both against Madhya Pradesh High Court verdicts.
Justice AM Khanwilkar recused from two cases – Daulat Ram v Rakshpal Singh, originating from the Uttarakhand High Court, and a transfer petition, Riddhi Gajanan Chaudhari v Gajanan Kaluram Chaudhari.
Justice L Nageswara Rao recused from Simi Priyadarsini v. Union of India, a civil SLP originating from the Orissa High Court, and State of Andhra Pradesh v. BMW India Private Limited, which is a criminal SLP, filed in 2012.
Among the remaining recusals, Justice S Abdul Nazeer recused from hearing Mahesh Joshi v. KR Srinivasa, a criminal SLP originating from the Karnataka High Court; Justice Uday Umesh Lalit recused from hearing Commissioner (Food Safety) v. Sugandhi Snuff King Private Ltd; Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman recused from hearing Darius Rutton Kavasmaneck v. Maharukh Murad Oomrigar, an arbitration case. Lastly, Justice Arun Mishra recused from hearing State of Madhya Pradesh v. Sandesh Singh Tomar, a civil SLP.
Thus, nine judges recused from hearing 15 cases between January 4 and 12.
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