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'Attended His Daughter's Wedding': Third SC Judge Recuses from Hearing Plea Against Interim CBI Chief

Justice NV Ramana has joined CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice AK Sikri in withdrawing from the case.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:January 31, 2019, 12:15 PM IST
'Attended His Daughter's Wedding': Third SC Judge Recuses from Hearing Plea Against Interim CBI Chief
Interim director of the CBI M Nageswara Rao is seen here at Home Minister Rajnath Singh's office in New Delhi.

New Delhi: Justice NV Ramana, on Thursday, withdrew himself from hearing a petition against interim CBI director M Nageshwar Rao, making it a third recusal by judges in the Supreme Court from this matter.

The PIL has been filed by NGO Common Cause, which, apart from seeking fresh norms for appointment of CBI chief, has contended that Rao cannot be appointed as the interim director.

Earlier, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice AK Sikri had distanced themselves from hearing the case. Justice Ramana, too, recused, citing personal reasons on Thursday.

As soon as the matter was called out for hearing and senior lawyer Dushyant Dave sought to argue, Justice Ramana said: "I cannot hear this matter for some personal reasons. This will have to go to some other bench."

On being asked for the reasons, Ramana disclosed that he has known Rao because the CBI officer also belongs to his home state Andhra Pradesh.

"I have known MN Rao. He is from my home state. I also attended Rao's daughter's wedding. Rao's son-in-law is also known to me since he is a practising advocate," said Justice Ramana.

Dave then complained that everyone has been recusing from the case and that Justice Ramana should have this matter placed on Friday.

"No... We can't say that. Listing is the prerogative of the chief justice. We can only say that matter should be placed before the CJI for placing it before the appropriate bench," replied the judge.

On January 24, Justice Sikri had recused from hearing the petition, expressing "predicament" and "personal reasons".

Justice Sikri was the CJI's nominee in the last meeting of the Selection Committee wherein Alok Verma was removed as the CBI director over an adverse report by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Justice Sikri had proved to be the deciding vote since he voted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Verma while leader of the single largest party in opposition, Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge, opposed the move.

Previously, the CJI had withdrawn himself. CJI Ranjan Gogoi had then disclosed that since he was going to participate in the meeting of the Selection Committee on January 24, he would not hear this case.

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