Delhi High Court has dismissed an application filed by congress leader Sajjan Kumar seeking recusal of Justice PS Teji from hearing the Central bureau of Investigation’s appeal against his acquittal. Kumar was acquitted of all charges in a case relating to murder of five people belonging to the same family during the anti sikh riots of 1984 in the Delhi Cantonement area. Justice Teji who is a part of the division bench headed by Justice Gita Mittal which is hearing CBI’s appeal became a part of this bench after the earlier bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice RK Gauba was reconstituted.
Sajjan Kumar’s lawyers had also submitted that since Justice Teji as an Additional Sessions judge in Karkardooma court had refused to grant bail to Kumar in 2010, it was an indication of his bias against their client.
The bench however accepted Senior Counsel RS Cheema’s submission. Cheema who was appearing for the CBI had said that “There is no question of a person merely expressing an apprehension and the judge being required to recuse. It is the duty of every judge to decide a case which is placed before him and that the oath of office of a judge mandates so.”
Speaking on the delay caused due to such applications in hearing the appeals, court said- “This has led to our having to hear protracted arguments on the recusal of one of us (P.S. Teji, J) thereby expending valuable judicial time thereon, instead of proceeding with the merits of the case. It has further required both of us to devote time and effort to penning separate judgments on the prayer as mandated by judicial pronouncements. We therefore, exercise restraint and desist from invoking our jurisdiction under the Contempt of Courts Act and also in not initiating penal action against the applicants as commended in the above set out judicial precedents, only for the reason these cases brook no further delay. No digression, distraction or diversion by any other proceedings which could result in protraction of the hearings in the main appeals would be in the interests of justice.”
The bench finally dismissed Kumar’s application along with other similar applications filed by other accused in the case.
Read the Judgment here.