The Bombay High Court Chief Justice, Dipankar Datta, on Thursday recused himself from hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a retired assistant commissioner of police (ACP), challenging the appointment of Subodh Jaiswal as director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Mentioning the reason for placing the matter before another bench, CJ Datta said, “A letter has been written to the Chief Justice of India against me. So, we will place this matter before another bench.”
However, Satish Talekar, the counsel for retired ACP Rajendrakumar Trivedi said that his client has not sent any letter. Even the former cop, who was also present in the court, averred that he hasn’t written any such letter.
“My client has not written any such letter. It was they (respondents) who wanted another bench,” Talekar said, adding that Trivedi was ready to file an affidavit stating the same. However, CJ Datta insisted that it was better if the PIL was heard by another bench.
“Very easy for someone to write a letter and tarnish someone’s image,” remarked CJ Datta while recusing himself from the matter. Representing the Centre, additional solicitor general Anil Singh said that often complaints are made when people don't get reliefs from courts.
“It has become frequent that when people do not get relief, they write such letters,” he told.
The PIL, which doubts CBI director Jaiswal’s professional credibility, will be listed for hearing before another bench in due course of time.
CJ Datta’s move comes on the day when Supreme Court justice DY Chandrachud expressed his anguish at the recent “targeting” of judges. “Give us judges a break. I was down with Covid and hence, the matter was deferred. I read in the news that judges are not taking it up. There is a limit to targeting us,” he said.