New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it would not allow any body to “browbeat” it as it rejected a plea for recusal of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi from hearing a matter on the detention centre housing illegal immigrants in Assam.
It also removed the former bureaucrat Harsh Mander, who had moved the plea, as the petitioner in the case.
“We will not remotely think of recusal as it is destructive of the institution. We will not allow anybody to browbeat the institution (the top court),” said the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna as Mander alleged bias by the CJI.
Dismissing the plea, the court said it has the potential of causing damage to the institution.
“You take news from social media and throw at the CJI asking him to recuse himself. What will happen if institutions collapse, where will we be?” CJI Gogoi said as Mander said that he got the news of the court’s observations from news portals.
“The day you don’t trust your judges, you do great damage to the institutions,” the CJI told Mander, adding that “We make mistakes and of course we do and correct then later.”
In an apparent suggestion that petitioners can’t act on the contents of social media, he asked Mander: “What if I say that you have been set up by the Assam government to save the Chief Secretary from disciplinary action.”
“I would say that it is simply say not true,” Mander said.
The court directed its registry to strike off Mander’s name as the petitioner and substitute it with the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee. It also appointed counsel Prashant Bhushan as amicus curiae in the matter confined to the detention centres where illegal immigrants are lodged.
The court said that it was appointing Bhushan as amicus as he was appearing for Mander in the matter.
Describing “scandalous” the plea for the recusal of CJI Gogoi from hearing the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that it was contemptuous as Mander is alleging that the court is using his petition for other purposes.
He also termed the petition – “well drafted with judgments quoted” as “nothing but forum hunting”.
Questioning Mander for “lecturing judges as to what they should do”, he said: “You can’t get up as public spirited person and spit venom on anyone.”
Also defending the Assam Chief Secretary, Mehta told the court that he was not behind the plea for the recusal of the CJI.
“The Chief Secretary did not know of the application (seeking the recusal of the CJI) till it was filed and asked me to oppose it,” Mehta told the court.