File photo of the Supreme Court of India building. PTI
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said that it would like to lay down the law on the issue of recusal of judges from a case after a lawyer sought Chief Justice JS Khehar’s recusal from hearing a matter related to appointment of judges.
“You people just come here and say things that this judge should recuse or that judge should recuse himself. We would like to lay down the law on the issue of recusal of judges,” a bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice NV Ramana said.
The bench’s observation came when advocate Mathew J Nedumpara appeared before the court and sought recusal of the Chief Justice from the matter.
“We will like to hear you and decide the matter. We are here for years and you tell us to recuse,” Justice Khehar said.
When it was pointed out that Nedumpara was not an intervenor nor the petitioner in the case, the bench said, “You are arguing without even being allowed to argue. You please sit down. We are not hearing you. You have not been allowed to intervene in the matter. No more intervening applications will be allowed in the matter,” the bench said.
To a plea by Nedumpara that the apex court should put a ban on PILs, Justice Khehar said, “What would you then do for publicity.”
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by 1971 war veteran Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kabotra, a former Army official who has sought direction to the Ministry of Law and Justice to take “immediate steps” for facilitating filling up of existing vacancies in the judiciary across the country.
He has also sought a direction to consider and implement 245th report of the Law Commission on reforms in judiciary and to increase the judges’ strength and infrastructural facilities in courts in the country.
His plea has said, “The respondent (Centre) is duty-bound to facilitate filling up of existing judge strength across the country and to consider increasing the same substantially in terms of the Law Commission’s report.”