Nirmal Yadav moves HC, Judge recuses

Chandigarh: A judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday recused himself from hearing a plea of its former judge Nirmal Yadav challenging the summons issued to her in connection with the 2008 'cash-at-judge's door' scam.

The petition came up for hearing before Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia. As a battery of lawyers led by Supreme Court advocate KTS Tulsi appeared for Yadav before the bench in a jam packed courtroom, Justice Ahluwalia refused to hear the case and referred it to another bench.

Yadav had, in her application, sought quashing of the summons directing her to appear in person on May 18 and the charge sheet filed by the CBI against her and others in the special court here on March four.

Special Judge Ritu Tagore had issued summons against Yadav on April 30 directing her to appear in person. After Justice Ahluwalia recused himself, her counsel requested Acting Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel to place the matter before another judge.

A request was also made to fix the case for hearing on May 20 but Justice Goel made it clear that the court could not fix the matter for a particular date.

Her counsel said they would now move an application to the High Court Registry so that the petition is put up before another bench.

Yadav's counsel, in her petition, has claimed the "sanction for her prosecution was granted by the President of India without there being any fresh material placed before the competent authority by the CBI requiring review of the earlier order declining such sanction."

The counsel said the then Chief Justice of India directed closure of investigation against the petitioner and refused to grant sanction for her prosecution.

Elaborating, the counsel said then Secretary, Ministry of Law and Justice, DR Meena, addressed a letter on December 7, 2009, to then CBI Director Ashwani Kumar.

Meena wrote that the case of the petitioner was discussed by the Minister for Law and Justice with the then Chief Justice of India. He observed no action was required and the case papers relating to the petitioner be returned to the Department of Personnel and Training.

But, "to the utter surprise of the petitioner, on March 1, sanction for her prosecution was granted by the President of India", the petition said.

Her counsel added "it is well-settled that request for sanction to prosecute once rejected upon due application of mind by the authority competent to grant or advise sanction cannot be reviewed/ re-considered, unless there is any fresh material necessitating such fresh look at the earlier order."

The name of Justice Yadav had surfaced in the cash at judge's door step as the alleged intended receipt of Rs 15 lakh which had erroneously landed in the house of another High Court Judge Justice Nirmaljit Kaur Court who reported the matter to the Chandigarh Police.