Top jurists on Thursday demanded “appropriate action” against Allahabad High Court Chief Justice F.I. Rebello for divesting the judge hearing a case against Mayawati in the Taj corridor scam.
In its complaint to Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) said Justice Rebello should be either transferred immediately or an “in-house probe” be initiated against him.
The organisation, guided by former SC judges Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer and Justice P.B. Sawant, has asked the CJI to examine the “circumstances and justification for unusual orders issued in an arbitrary manner”.
HT had reported on Monday that Justice Pradeep Kant, the seniormost judge at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad HC, had been suddenly divested of the case challenging closure of the Taj Heritage Corridor case against Mayawati, which he had been hearing for 18 months.
Justice Rebello issued two administrative orders — on August 28 and 31 —taking away the controversial case from the bench headed by Justice Kant.
“Though it is the prerogative of the chief justice to make and change the roster and even divest benches of part heard cases, it is most unusual for a chief justice to issue administrative orders which are so specific…,” wrote CJAR convenor Prashant Bhushan.
“Justice Rebello’s meeting with Ms Mayawati just nine days prior to the first administrative order...is very significant...” Bhushan stated.
In September 2009, acting on a PIL, a bench headed by Justice Kant had issued notices to Mayawati and state PWD minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui, seeking resumption of proceedings against them in the Rs 175-crore Taj corridor scam.