HC rejects plea for recusal of Judge from hearing pleas on Mission Build AP

Orders filing of complaint of criminal prosecution against Mission Build AP Director

A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday rejected a prayer for recusal of Justice Rakesh Kumar from hearing petitions filed against the proposed sale of government lands in Guntur and Visakhapatnam districts under “Mission Build AP” and posted the batch of writ petitions to the second week of February 2021.

The court directed its Registrar-General to lodge a complaint of criminal prosecution against Mission Build A.P. Director Pravin Kumar for making a false statement in a sworn affidavit filed in the matter.

The court ordered Mr. Pravin Kumar to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for making the false statement that amounted to perjury, within six weeks. Mr. Pravin Kumar stated in his affidavit that there was a likelihood of bias as Justice Rakesh Kumar had allegedly prejudged the case even before hearing it, hence the plea for his recusal.

‘Not frightened’

In Wednesday’s order, the court asserted that if such petitions were entertained, it might not be allowed to dispense justice, but it would not be frightened by such actions of the State.

The court further commented that the State government had first attacked the Legislative Council, then the State Election Commission and now the High Court and even the Supreme Court was under attack by persons in power.

Referring to the alleged bias in judgments by the High Court in various matters concerning the State, the court said the act of sending the “unceremonious letter” to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy might have given him an undue advantage, and people could draw an inference that the Chief Justices of the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were transferred in the wake of the Chief Minister’s letter to CJI.

Now, it was possible that the cases pending against the Chief Minister and others in the CBI special court in Hyderabad might be delayed and monitoring of the same by the apex court could be hampered.

The transfer of Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari could give an undue benefit to the State government with regard to the hearing of the petitions that challenged the validity of the A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and CRDA Repeal Acts, as they were in the process of final hearing by a full Bench headed by the Chief Justice.

While claiming that it was not questioning the transfer of Chief Justices, the High Court said it was constrained to observe that such transfers “may reflect some transparency for betterment or upliftment of administration of justice”.

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