Gujarat's former minister of state for home Amit Shah has moved the Supreme Court questioning its Jan 12, 2010, judgment handing over the investigations into the Sohrabuddin Sheikh-Kausar Bi abduction and killing case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Shah, now in judicial custody, has questioned the propriety of the apex court bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice Aftab Alam hearing the matter and handing over the investigation to CBI when Justice Chatterjee himself was under the CBI scanner.
Shah whose petition was filed Wednesday has said that Justice Alam should recuse himself from the bench hearing petitions for the recall of Jan 12 order.
The prayer in the petition of Amit Shah is confined to the recall of the order, but in the petition, he has said that both Justice Chatterjee and Alam should have recused themselves from hearing the matter and passing the order.
The petition said that "if Justice Alam was in the know of the fact that Justice Tarun Chatterjee suffered from automatic disqualification, Justice Alam ought to have recused himself from hearing the case".
The reference to "automatic disqualification" is on account of Justice Chatterjee then being under the CBI scanner in Ghaziabad district courts pension fund scam.
Shah's petition faulting Justice Chatterjee is not a new point. Prior to him, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Shah, and recently, Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service officer Geetha Johri had sought the recall of the order on the same grounds.
The court has already witnessed some heat on this issue earlier during the course of the hearing of the case Aug 12. Jethmalani incurred the displeasure of the court when he questioned the propriety of Justice Chatterjee hearing and deciding the matter.
At this, Justice Alam said: "Your statement has hurt me. It will hurt more your great reputation". Jethmalani said: "I have nothing to lose. I have no reputation left. And if in discharge of my responsibility for getting justice if I lose it I don't care."
After faulting Justice Chatterjee on the count of propriety, Amit Shah's petition said that the handing over of the investigation in the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi case to CBI was the consequence of a conspiracy hatched at the highest level.