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Justice NV Ramana recuses from hearing challenge to appointment of M Nageshwar Rao
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Justice NV Ramana recuses from hearing challenge to appointment of M Nageshwar Rao

Shruti Mahajan

The challenge in the Supreme Court relating to the appointment of M Nageshwar Rao as Interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has seen yet another recusal. This time, Justice NV Ramana has recused from hearing the case.

The petition filed by the NGO Common Cause, which challenged the appointment of the Rao  after the ouster of Alok Verma, came up for hearing before the Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana.

Justice Ramana recused himself from hearing the case, stating that he knew Rao personally.

Ramana J is the third judge to recuse himself from hearing this case after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice AK Sikri recused themselves.

On January 21, CJI Gogoi remarked that he will be participating in the meeting of the Selection Committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, and hence, would not like to hear the matter.

Three days later, when Sikri J. sought to recuse, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner Common Cause, objected. He said that CJI Ranjan Gogoi had also recused from the case earlier and an impression was being created that the Supreme Court does not want to hear the matter.

The petitioner contends that the appointment of Nageshwar Rao is illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and in violation of the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and the judgment of the Supreme Court in Alok Verma v. Union of India and Common Cause v. Union of India.

Besides praying for quashing the appointment of Nageshwar Rao as Interim Director, the petitioner has sought issuance of an appropriate writ for appointment of a Director, CBI as per the procedure established by law and appropriate directions to ensure transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the Director of the CBI.