17 April 2023 3:33 PM GMT
Delhi High Court judge Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, has recused from hearing a plea moved by Asif Iqbal Tanha against leak of his alleged confession statement to media in the larger conspiracy relating to 2020 North-East Delhi riots.In an order passed on April 12, the judge recused from the matter in the “larger interests of the overall credibility of the justice system.”Justice...
Delhi High Court judge Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, has recused from hearing a plea moved by Asif Iqbal Tanha against leak of his alleged confession statement to media in the larger conspiracy relating to 2020 North-East Delhi riots.
In an order passed on April 12, the judge recused from the matter in the “larger interests of the overall credibility of the justice system.”
Justice Bhambhani had earlier hinted at his recusal after News Broadcasters & Digital Association (NBDA) and News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) filed intervention applications as they apprehended that a decision in the case may lead to registration of FIR against journalists and also have an impact on the question of disclosure of sources.
Before his elevation as a judge of the High Court, Justice Bhambhani practiced in media law and has represented NBDA in the past.
“Be that as it may, after giving its anxious consideration to the matter, what prevails with the court is that no act on the part of a court must in any manner have a deleterious impact on the credibility of the justice system. Regardless of the view that this court may hold in relation to the intervention applications filed, that view must yield to the view which better subserves to preserve the credibility of the system, which credibility derives not just from fairness in fact, but equally importantly, from fairness in perception,” the judge said in the order.
Justice Bhambhani further observed that even deciding the intervention applications, whether one way or the other, “must be informed by the same overarching principle.”
The matter will now be listed before another bench on April 19, subject to orders of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.
During previous hearings, Justice Bhambhani had said that recusal of a judge in a matter should not come easy but the judge's "comfort level" is also a consideration when it comes to deciding the question.
Tanha had filed the petition against various news reports which claimed he had allegedly confessed to organizing and inciting the Delhi riots. Zee News is one of the respondents in the case.
The plea pending before the court seeks direction against media houses for taking down sensitive information, allegedly leaked by police to them, in respect of the investigation.
Previously, Delhi Police had informed the court that during enquiry, the Enquiry Officer could not establish the officers or office from where the investigation details were allegedly shared with media. It also said that the Enquiry Officer had examined various media personnel who refused to share details of their sources from where they had accessed investigation related documents.
Pertinently, Justice Bhambhani was also part of the division bench that had granted bail to Tanha in the criminal case. The counsel representing the parties on January 11 submitted the "present petition does not in any manner relate to the merits of any allegations against the petitioner, whether prima-facie or otherwise, which may have been alluded to in the aforesaid judgment; and accordingly, there is no impediment to the under-signed hearing the present petition."
Title: Asif Iqbal Tanha v. State & Ors.
Click Here To Read Order