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Posted at: Oct 16, 2019, 7:36 PM; last updated: Oct 16, 2019, 7:39 PM (IST)

SC to pronounce order on plea for Justice Arun Mishra’s recusal on October 23

SC to pronounce order on plea for Justice Arun Mishra’s recusal on October 23
File photo of the Supreme Court.

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 16

The Supreme Court will pronounce on October 23 its order on pleas seeking recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from a five-judge Constitution Bench hearing petitions relating to certain issues under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

The Bench — which also includes justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Sharan, MR Shah and S Ravindra Bhat—on Wednesday concluded the hearing on the plea made by various farmers associations and private individuals demanding Justice Mishra’s recusal.

They had sought his recusal on the ground that he was part of a verdict pronounced last year in which he has already expressed his mind.

Justice Mishra was part of a Bench that in February 2018 held that land acquisition by government can’t be quashed for delay on the part of land owners in accepting compensation within five years on account of litigation.

A 2014 verdict had earlier held that land acquisition can be quashed on account of delay in accepting the compensation. The issue was referred to a larger Bench on March 6 in view of conflicting verdicts by two Benches.

“You want a Bench of your choice, your formulations, those who may favour you. This will destroy the independence of judiciary. This is Bench hunting, nothing less. This is taming the judiciary”, Justice Mishra said.

On Tuesday, a visibly upset Justice Mishra had taken exception to demands for his recusal after senior counsel Shyam Divan said he should not be part of a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by him hearing petitions relating to certain issues under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

“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,” Justice Mishra had said.

Divan — who is representing certain farmers — had objected to Justice Mishra being part of the Bench, saying judicial propriety demanded that he should not be part of the Constitution Bench as it was looking into the correctness of a verdict delivered by him.

A judge cannot sit in appeal of his own judgment, he had said.

“It is not an appeal against the verdict in which I was the party…I may change or correct my view, if persuaded,” Justice Mishra had said, adding the Constitution Bench was sitting to interpret provision of law and not to see the correctness of earlier verdicts.

“Entire institution… the Chief Justice of India is being maligned on social media. If anyone can be maligned like this, then how will the court decide the issue? Then all of us are disqualified not only Justice Arun Mishra is disqualified.”

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