SC judge withdraws from case after Gowda alleges ‘bias’

Justice Arijit Pasayat on Monday recused himself from hearing a petition relating to the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway after former prime minister H D Deve....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 10, 2009 3:01 am

Justice Arijit Pasayat on Monday recused himself from hearing a petition relating to the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway after former prime minister H D Deve Gowda accused the senior Supreme Court judge of “bias” and sought his withdrawal from the bench hearing the case.

Gowda’s application,through senior advocate Shanti Bhushan,sought withdrawal of Justice Pasayat from the matter saying there was “reasonable apprehension regarding likelihood of bias and want of impartiality on the basis of the relevant material in his (Gowda’s) possession”.

Justice Pasayat,who was sitting with Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly,termed the accusation baffling and unfortunate: “It is unfortunate that such an application has been filed. There is no ground to show that it has any concern with the issue. The reason indicated why one of us will not hear the matter is baffling even because the application is filed and presented by a senior advocate.”

“I am at the fag end of my career as judge and therefore if people do not have faith in me,I do not want to hear this matter,” said the judge,who will be retiring on May 10.

Subsequently,the court ordered,“With a heavy heart,we direct the matter to be listed before any other bench which does not have Justice Pasayat.”

The remarks came during the hearing of a petition filed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) Limited,the promoter of the Expressway project,challenging a Karnataka High Court decision to treat a letter written by Gowda,to judges of the High Court,as a PIL on the issue of alleged corruption in the project.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave,appearing for NICE,expressed surprise over the grounds taken by Deve Gowda for transfer of the matter before another Bench.

According to the allegations leveled by the Janata Dal (S) chief,NICE has been repeatedly making attempts to get all the petitions,filed by it by way of appeals against the HC decision,be heard before the Bench headed by Pasayat.

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