The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to grant any immediate relief to the Mayawati government for undertaking maintenance and certain other works at the Ambedkar Sthal in Lucknow.

The Uttar Pradesh government had sought permission to execute maintenance work on the ground that lakhs of people would visit the site on December 6, birth anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

A Bench of Justices H. S. Bedi and T.S. Thakur did not give any relief to the State government, as petitioner Mithilesh Kumar Singh had not filed his response to the application filed in November first week.

On October 6, the court confirmed the order that restrained the government from carrying out any further activity at the memorials, including the Ambedkar Sthal.

During the resumed hearing on Tuesday, senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the petitioner, suggested that the matter be heard by a three-judge Bench that would include Justice Aftab Alam, who heard the case earlier along with Justice B.N. Agrawal (since retired).

Justice Bedi told counsel that he would recuse himself from the case if the parties did not have faith in him.

He told Mr. Singhvi, “This is not a matter for you to decide. You are very unkind to us. You are not being charitable. Whether it is a two or three judge bench, it is for the Chief Justice to decide. It is very unfortunate. You have been long enough here to know the procedure.”

Tenders apology

Mr. Singhvi tendered an apology to the court. He said he would make an appropriate request to Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan for the matter to be heard by a three-judge bench, to include Justice Alam as he had heard the matter for several days.

The Bench directed the matter to be listed for further hearing to January 19, 2010.