Justice Arun Mishra: Not recusing from hearing land acquisition case

Arun Mishra, Supreme Court, Land Acquisition Act
Justice Mishra is heading a five-judge bench that is hearing appeals against the order on the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. Photo: PTI

Supreme Court judge Justice Arun Mishra on Wednesday (October 23) refused to recuse himself from hearing an appeal on the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. The order comes in the backdrop of protests by several litigants in the case and social media posts that alleged that Mishra’s judgement could be biased as he was already a part of the three-judge bench which delivered the judgement on the issue.

Justice Mishra pronounced the order while heading a five-judge bench on the case. “I am not recusing from hearing this matter,” he said.

Senior Counsel Shyam Divan representing some of the petitioners had submitted in the court that there was apprehension pertaining to Mishra’s presence on the bench as the consideration of the issue by the Constitution Bench is in “corrective jurisdiction”.

The Constitution Bench will hear arguments on the Land Acquisition Act case from 2 pm today, reported Bar and Bench.

The Supreme Court in March 2018 had ruled that the two verdicts related to land acquisition which had become controversial, would be examined by a larger bench headed by Justice Mishra. One of the benches headed by Justice Mishra had ruled that land acquisition by a government agency cannot be cancelled if owners do not take compensation within five years.

Earlier, this week, hinting that he would not recuse from the case, Justice Mishra had said, “If we succumb to this prayer, this would be Bench hunting and taming the judiciary. You want the bench of your choice… that is destroying the very fundamentals of the system. I perceive it like that…”