Supreme Court judge Justice Surya Kant on Monday recused himself from hearing a Punjab government plea challenging the high court order, which granted bail to Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a drug case.
The matter was listed for Monday before a bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.K. Maheshwari.
As soon as the matter came up for hearing, Justice Surya Kant said he was part of the high court bench which passed directions to set up a special task force to investigate the matter.
Majithia, the brother-in-law of SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and brother of former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, had been lodged in the Patiala jail onFebruary 24 last year.
The Punjab government, represented by senior advocate Shyam Divan, moved the apex court challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court order dated August 10, 2022.
The bench ordered: “Let the matter be listed before a bench in which one of us (Justice Kant) is not a member.”
Granting bail to Majithia, the high court had observed that there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that he is not guilty. Majithia was released after spending more than five months in the Patiala jail in the drug case.
However, the high court had clarified that the trial court should proceed independently of the observations made by it. Majithia was booked on the basis of a 2018 report of the anti-drug special task force (STF) into a drug racket in the state.