The Andhra Pradesh High Court came down on the State for seeking recusal of judges.
A “sincere” senior most I.A.S. officer, who is working as Special Chief Secretary to the Government, Y.Srilakshmi, who is familiar to the public of both states i.e. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for her honesty while discharging her duties, filed the petition with a request to two judges out of three judges viz. Justice M.Satyanarayana Murthy and Justice D.V.S.S.Somayajulu to recuse/withdraw from hearing the writ petitions and to prove their qualification to hear the lis pendens before the Court on the ground that two judges i.e. Justice M.Satyanarayana Murthy and Justice D.V.S.S.Somayajulu were allotted house plot of an extent of 600 Sq.Yards each by the Government in Nelapadu, which is within the limits of Capital Region Development Authority, now Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Authority and thereby have financial interest in the subject matter. There is a possibility of increase or decrease of value of the land depending upon the result of the writ petitions and proposed shifting of High Court from Nelapadu to Kurnool will have its own impact on the value of the property possessed by two judges on allotment by the then Government, requested to recuse/withdraw from hearing of the case.
The three judge bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, Justice D.V.S.S.Somayajulu and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy noted that the Government being the provider of finance to the State to run the Courts and providing amenities to all the judges made serious allegations against two judges out of three judges hearing the matter, demanding them to withdraw from bench. Such demand amounts to interference with the power of Chief Justice and causes a dent to judicial independence.
“It is necessary to state that one of us Justice M.Satyanarayana Murthy is likely to retire within a few months and he is not bothered about the result of the writ petition as there is no possibility of holding Court after retirement. The other judge viz. Justice D.V.S.S.Somayajulu is likely to retire one year thereafter. Therefore, both are unmindful of the result of the lis pending before us and we are bound to discharge our duties without fear, favour, fervour or ill-will and as per the oath we took under Article 219 of the Constitution of India,” the court said.
Case title: The State of Andhra Pradesh v/s Rajadhani Rythu Parirakshana Samithi
Citation: I.A.No.01 of 2021 in W.P.No.13203 of 2020