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Bombay HC Accuses Maharashtra Govt of Taking it For a Ride

Justice Abhay Oka reprimanded the Maharashtra government and said, "You don't want Bombay High Court to retain its dignity. You have taken the 155-year-old institution on a ride."

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:August 28, 2017, 4:56 PM IST
Bombay High Court
The Bombay high court.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday took the Maharashtra government to task, saying it had taken the 155-year-old institution of Bombay High Court for a ride by accusing Justice Abhay Oka of bias.

“Go apologise to CJ (Chief Justice) who you misled. You have taken 155-year-old institution on a ride. Maharashtra government doesn't want the Bombay High Court to exist, to retain its dignity," Justice Abhay Oka reprimanded the Maharashtra government.

The issue arose last week after the Maharashtra government submitted an application before the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, alleging that Justice Oka was biased against it and sought the transfer of case to a different division bench.

Maharashtra government's Deputy Secretary Vijay Patil apologised and withdrew the transfer application. “Our intention has been misunderstood and misinterpreted,” Maharashtra government told the bench.

The government’s stance has drawn flak from the lawyer fraternity. Many senior lawyers and bar associations came out in support of Justice Oka and vouched for his integrity. Justice Oka has been hearing many Public Interest Litigations, and has upheld civic rights. His orders in noise pollution matter were a relief to many.

Maharashtra government's move had come after the judge refused to accept the government's contention that there were no silence zones in the state at present. Finding it unacceptable that no silence zones could be implemented around schools, hospitals, residential areas, the court asked the government to rethink its stand and file an affidavit.

That is when the state government, instead of filing an additional affidavit, hurled the allegation of bias against Justice Oka, who had refused to recuse himself from the matter till he got orders from the CJ.

After the Maharashtra government's move, Advocates' Association of Western India's Managing Committee passed a resolution condemning it.

“The committee further condemns the irresponsible, unethical, capricious stand taken by the government of Maharashtra in an ongoing litigation with an intention to malign the image of an upright and judicious judge of the high court.” The Bombay Bar Association had also called for an Extraordinary General Meeting on August 28 to discuss the same matter.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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