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Justice Arun Mishra Refuses to Recuse From Hearing Land Acquisition Case Despite Petitioners' Demands

Mishra had last week taken strong exception to a request by parties to recuse himself from heading a Constitution Bench meant to re-examine his own judgment relating to provisions of compensation in the Land Acquisition Act.

News18.com

Updated:October 23, 2019, 12:27 PM IST
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Justice Arun Mishra Refuses to Recuse From Hearing Land Acquisition Case Despite Petitioners' Demands
File photo of Justice Arun Mishra. (PTI Photo)

Supreme Court judge Justice Arun Mishra on Wednesday refused to recuse from hearing a land acquisition case after demands by petitioners.

Mishra had last week taken strong exception to a request by parties to recuse himself from heading a Constitution Bench meant to re-examine his own judgment relating to provisions of compensation in the Land Acquisition Act.

Justice Mishra, heading a 5-judge bench, also referred to certain social media posts and articles seeking that he drop out of the bench and said they were not against a particular judge but an attempt to malign the institution. "I will be the first person to sacrifice if the integrity of institution is at stake. I am not biased and don't get influenced by anything on earth. If I am satisfied that I am biased then only I will recuse myself from hearing this case".

He was also critical of the word "impartial", used repeatedly by parties seeking his recusal, and said: "This word hurts me. Don't use it as it will send wrong message to the common man".

In February last year, Justice Mishra had authored a majority judgment which held that land acquisition by a government agency could not be quashed for delay on the part of land owners in accepting compensation within five years due to reasons such as lingering court cases.

The verdict had conflicted with a 2014 verdict of the court on grant of compensation under Section 24 of the land acquisition law of 2013. The 2014 judgment was, till Justice Mishra's judgment, considered the settled law on land acquisition compensation.

Soon after justice Mishra's judgment, a three-judge Bench led by Justice (now retired) Madan Lokur virtually stayed the operation of his bench’s verdict while questioning its propriety.

On March 6 last year, the apex court had said that a larger bench would test the correctness of the verdicts delivered by these two benches on the same issue.

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