New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Justice N V Ramana on Thursday recused himself from hearing a plea challenging the Centre’s decision to appoint M Nageswara Rao as interim CBI director.
Justice Ramana became the third judge of the apex court to recuse himself from hearing the matter as Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justice A K Sikri had earlier recused themselves from adjudicating the case.
While recusing himself from hearing the matter, Justice Ramana said Rao is from his home state and he had attended the wedding ceremony of Rao’s daughter. Justice Ramana referred the matter to the CJI to list it before an appropriate bench.
On January 24, Justice Sikri told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, that he would not like to hear the matter and was recusing himself.
“You understand my position. I can’t hear this matter,” Justice Sikri said, who was part of the high-powered panel which had removed CBI Director Alok Verma.
Earlier, recusing himself from hearing the plea against Rao, CJI Gogoi had said that he is a member of the Selection Committee, that will pick a successor to Alok Verma, who was removed as CBI director months after he was sent on leave.
The petition, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the order of appointing Rao as interim director of CBI was “illegal, arbitrary, malafide” and in violation of the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act).
CBI’s Additional Director Rao was given the charge of interim chief on January 10 till the appointment of a new director after a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Alok Kumar Verma as the chief of the probe agency on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty.