Justice G.S. Singhvi, heading a Supreme Court Bench which is hearing the case on former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia conversation tapes, on Wednesday recused himself and referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam for being posted before another Bench.
Even as the Bench of Justices Singhvi and V. Gopala Gowda was hearing the petitions filed by industrialist Ratan Tata, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and others, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Open magazine, wanted the court to hear the main issue — the question of privacy.
Meanwhile, counsel Prashant Bhushan filed a fresh application seeking a probe on the basis of thereport of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office on Ms. Radia conversations.
Mr. Dhavan told the Bench that arguments on the main issue could go on but the Bench said it would hear all issues together later. However, Mr. Dhavan told the Bench, “It is highly unfortunate. I left all cases for this hearing. It is highly arbitrary. You are denying media’s right to answer in this case.
“When Justice Singhvi said, “all well,” Mr. Dhavan said, “All not well. I don't want to say anything at the time of Your Lordship’s retirement. But it is highly arbitrary.” After this Justice Singhvi, said the issue will come up before a different Bench.
Earlier, the Bench issued notice to the Centre, Mr. Ratan Tata and the CBI on the CPIL’s application seeking a CBI probe into the role of industrialists in buying shares in media houses based on tapped conversations.