New Delhi, January 30
Justice Surya Kant of the Supreme Court on Monday recused himself from hearing the Punjab Government’s appeal against the Punjab and Haryana High Court order granting bail to SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia in a drugs case.
As a Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice JK Maheshwari took up the government’s appeal, Justice Kant said he was part of the High Court Bench which had set up a Special Task Force to probe the case.
“Let the matter be listed before a Bench in which one of us (Justice Surya Kant) is not a member,” the Bench ordered. The matter will now go to CJI DY Chandrachud who would set up an appropriate Bench to hear the matter.
Majithia was booked on the basis of a 2018 report of the anti-drug Special Task Force (STF) of the state. The STF report was based on confessional statements given to the Enforcement Directorate by some accused, including Jagjit Singh Chahal, Jagdish Singh Bhola and Maninder Singh Aulakh.
The government has challenged the August 10, 2022, order of the High Court following which Majithia was released after spending more than five months in the Patiala jail. The High Court had said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that Majithia was not guilty even as it clarified that its observation was only for deciding the bail application and the trial court should proceed independently of the observations made by it.
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