Second SC judge recuses from Chandy case


Justice Sapre follows Justice Khanwilkar

Justice A.M. Sapre on Monday became the second Supreme Court judge to recuse from hearing a matter involving former Kerala transport Minister Thomas Chandy, facing allegations of land encroachment.

Justice A.M. Khanwilkar had earlier recused from hearing the case.

Things had taken a curious turn in the Supreme Court on Friday when a letter dated December 13, 2017, written by Mr. Chandy’s lawyer, requested a shift in the Bench.

The reason given was that senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who represented Mr. Chandy in the Kerala High Court, had “personal reasons” to not appear before Justice Sapre.

Appearing for Mr. Chandy, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said another letter had followed this one in which it was informed that Mr. Tankha would not appear in the case.

However, Justice Sapre shortly said that he was recusing from the case.

Blow to political life

There is no constitutional bar on a Minister from approaching a court of law against a State functionary’s “malafide action,” which has caused irreparable damage to his personal reputation and a serious blow to his political life.

Mr. Chandy has challenged a Kerala High Court decision in connection with the Lake Palace Resort row, which culminated in his resignation. Mr. Chandy said the court’s decision to dismiss his petition on November 14 was based on erroneous reasoning.

Wrong conclusion

He argued that the court was wrong to conclude that as Cabinet Minister he should not have moved it against a collective decision of the very State Cabinet of which he was a part.

“A good reputation is an element of personal security, and is protected by the Constitution equally with the right to enjoyment of life, liberty and property. When a dent is created in the reputation, humanism is paralysed,” Mr. Chandy voiced his grievance before the court.

Mr. Chandy said his petition in the court had been actually against the Alappuzha District Collector’s interim reports of September 22 and October 20 implicating him as the owner of lands in violation of the provisions of the Kerala Conservation of Paddy and Wetland Act of 2008.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:12:04 PM |

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