No need to recuse, rules Supreme Court on demand that judge step away from case
Justice Arun Mishra, a senior judge of the Supreme Court who is heading the constitution bench hearing petitions on the law acquisition law, will not recuse from the case, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
Farmland owners had opposed justice Mishra heading the five-judge bench because he had authored one of the two judgements that has been referred to the constitution bench to determine its correctness. Senior lawyer Shyam Divan, appearing for some farmer associations and individuals, had argued that the judge had expressed his mind stressed “that a judge cannot sit in appeal of his own judgement”.
In the course of preliminary hearings, the judge had rejected this argument, underscoring that he was “not biased and would not get influenced by anything on earth”.
“I will be the first person to sacrifice if the integrity of the institution is at stake,’’ Mishra, who is heading the five-judge bench, had said during the hearing. But when lawyers of the farmland owners insisted that the court take a call, the bench had agreed to first decide this demand.
In its ruling on Wednesday, the five judges decided that there was no need for Justice Mishra to step away from the case.
Justice Mishra heads the constitution bench formed to end the stalemate over interpretation of section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act that involves fair compensation to landowners whose property is acquired by the state for public purposes and return of the land in case it is not utilized for the acquired purpose.
Justice Mishra was a part of a bench that ruled in February last year that land acquisition by a government agency could not be quashed for the delay on the part of landowners in accepting compensation within five years due to reasons like lingering court cases.
In 2014, another verdict had held that land acquisition can be quashed on account of the delay in accepting the compensation. The top court had decided to set up the constitution bench in March last year to test the correctness of the verdicts delivered by these two benches of similar strength on the same issue.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those killed in the fire.
- Amit Shah had earlier hit out at Vijayan, saying the Kerala CM had no moral right to continue in power after ED pointed to a statement alleging his involvement in the gold smuggling case.
- Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Singh Tikait warned that if needed, their tractors would reach the Parliament to press the government for the repeal of contentious farm laws.
- French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and finance minister Bruno Le Maire will be in Delhi next month while IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will be in France. At least 8 Rafale fighters will leave for India through mid-air refuelling by UAE between April 19 and April 23.