Mumbai: The sudden ‘routine’ reassignment of cases to judges of the Bombay High Court has raised several eyebrows, especially after petitions challenging the discharge of IPS officers in Sohrabuddin case were removed from the board of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, who, incidentally, has gone on leave for nearly a week.
The reassignment has not gone down well with many in the legal fraternity and also in the general public. Resultantly, a lawyers’ association has taken up the issue with Acting Chief Justice Vijaya Tahilramani. The Bombay Lawyers’ Association has written a letter to Justice Tahilramani, urging her to take remedial measures so that ‘not only justice is done but it should appear to have been done.’
Apart from this, Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to twitter and mocked the reassignment exercise, wherein the pleas challenging the discharge of DG Vanzara and other IPS officers were taken away from Justice Mohite-Dere. The two-page letter of the association also cites the laudable efforts of Justice Mohite-Dere, who heard the matter on a day-to-day basis from February 9 till Febru-ary 24.
“This reassignment is particularly intriguing considering that Justice Mohite-Dere had consistently reprimanded CBI for its approach in the case. Against this backdrop, the change of assignment of Justice Mohite-Dere is sending a wrong signal to the public at large and undermining faith in the institution of judiciary,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, Justice Mohite-Dere has proceeded on a week’s leave, igniting speculation that she has done so to mark her protest. Justice Mohite-Dere, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue. The High Court’s Registrar General, Shrinivas Agrawal, also failed to clarify whether this leave was ‘pre-decided’ or not. Apart from these petitions, the letter of the association highlights the transfer of a Criminal Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to the CBI to challenge the discharge of BJP president Amit Shah.
Interestingly, the CRPIL was to be heard by a bench headed by Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari, who has been slamming the CBI and has time and again made scathing remarks over the present scenario, during the hearing of Pansare-Dabholkar murder case. But the reassignment has taken away the matter from Justice Dharmahikari, too, and the same would now be heard by a bench headed by Justice Bhushan Gavai. “It is a matter of record that Justice Gavai and Justice Sunil Shukre had gone to the press to declare that there was nothing suspicious about the death of CBI Judge BH Loya,” the letter states.