Chandy land encroachment case: Judge recused from Supreme Court bench

Saturday, Dec 16, 2017,10:44 IST By anju A A A

New Delhi | In land encroachmen case involved by former transport minister and NCP leader Thomas Chandy,Justice A M Khanwilkar recused from the case and the court directed for listing it before an appropriate bench.

The case was initially listed for hearing before a bench of justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre but was later shifted to a three-judge comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

A lawyer representing former Kerala transport minister Thomas Chandy, facing allegation of land encroachment, has written a letter to the Supreme Court requesting shifting of his matter from a bench having a particular judge.

The letter dated December 13 was written by an advocate on record K R Sasiprabhu to secretary general of Supreme Court saying that senior advocate Vivek Tankha, who appears for Chandy, “on account of personal reasons does not appear before the bench in which Justice A M Sapre is a part of”.

“The petitioner will lose the service of able lawyer who is well versed in the facts and laws involved in the case,” the letter said while referring to Tankha who represented Chandy even in the Kerala High Court.

“In the circumstances, I will be praying for listing of the matter before another bench immediately after the winter vacations. This letter may kindly be circulated among the judges, at my risk to avoid inconvenience to their lordships,” the letter further said.

Chandy had moved the apex court challenging the November 14 order of the Kerala High Court dismissing his petition against the report of Alappuzha district collector on alleged encroachments by a company in which he has stake.

The high court had held that that a minister cannot file a petition against his own government, which had ordered the district collector to look into the matter and submit a report.

There was a violation of the collective cabinet responsibility by the minister, the high court had held.

Following the remarks made by high court, Chandy was forced to resign, the reason which also found mention in the letter written to the secretary general of Supreme Court.

“The petitioner herein was till recently a cabinet minister in the government of Kerala but was constrained to resign on account of certain observations made by the high court of Kerala in the impugned judgement, while dismissing the writ petition filed by him challenging the order passed by the district collector without hearing his version,” the letter said.