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Our investigation into the recusal of Supreme Court judges continues, as in many cases which have come to light, we are left with no option but to speculate.
Justice L Nageswara Rao recused from three cases last week. Of these, one is a service matter, dealing with regularization of ad hoc employees etc. The case, Yogesh Mahajan v RC Deka, Director, AIIMS, was listed before the bench of Justice SA Bobde and himself on March 21, when he recused. A civil SLP (22475/2012) arising out of a Delhi High Court case, it is possible that Justice Rao appeared as counsel to one of the parties, when he was part of the Bar.
The second case from which Justice Rao recused is a medical college admission matter, Medical Council of India v St. John’s Medical College & Ors. [Civil Appeal,(670/2007)]. The case was listed before the same bench on March 21.
The third case which saw Justice Rao recusing was Muniyappa (D) by LRS. V. B Katappa (D) by LRS [Civil Appeal, 928-929/2008], listed before the same bench on March 23. The subject matter of this case is land laws and agricultural tenancies.
Justice AM Khanwilkar recused from two cases. Of these, one is a Civil Appeal [415/2007], Tata Power Co Ltd. V. Reliance Energy Ltd. & Ors, listed before the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and himself on March 23. The case is an electricity dispute. As the matter was last heard by a bench of Justices Misra and R Banumathi, it will likely go back to the same bench.
The other case which Justice Khanwilkar recused from is a civil SLP [24977/2012] dealing with mercantile laws, commercial transactions, including Banking and others, arising out of a Delhi High Court judgment. The case, Syndicate Bank v M/s AL Mustaneer Est. for Trade & Ors, was listed before the bench of Justices Misra, Khanwilkar and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, on March 24. As it was last heard by a bench of Justices Misra, Banumathi and Shantanagoudar, it is likely to be heard by the same bench.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul recused from an arbitration matter [Civil Appeal, 2099/2007], Union of India v M/s Pradeep Vinod Construction Co., which was listed before the bench of the Chief Justice JS Khehar, and Justices DY Chandrachud and himself on March 22.
Justice AK Sikri recused from hearing a bunch of civil transfer petitions, [1790-1857/2016], M/s Antrix Corporation Ltd v Asst. Commissioner of Commercial Taxes & Ors etc. listed before the bench of himself and Justice Ashok Bhushan on March 24. This is an indirect tax matter involving Value Added Tax.
Justice UU Lalit recused from hearing a Criminal Appeal [1220/2011], Jishu Jain v State of West Bengal, listed before the bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and himself on March 21. Justice Lalit might have been a counsel to one of the parties earlier.
Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre recused from hearing a civil SLP [14691/2014], Oriental Insurance Co Ltd. v M/s Silk Point & ANR, arising out of a decision of the Gauhati High Court. This was listed before the bench of Justices RK Agrawal and himself on March 24. Justice Sapre was the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court before his elevation to the Supreme Court in August 2014, and it is possible that he might have heard it earlier.
Lastly, Justice Prafulla C Pant recused from hearing a civil SLP [29548/2015], Kalpana Joshi v Pradeep Kumar Joshi, dealing with a family law matter, arising out of a decision of the Uttarakhand High Court. It was listed before the bench of Justices NV Ramana and himself on March 24. As Justice Pant served at the Uttarakhand High Court earlier, it is possible that he might have heard it earlier.
Image courtesy: Supreme Court of India annual report