The politically sensitive National Herald case has become a hot potato for the judges of the Delhi High Court. Justice Sunil Gaur, the second judge hearing the arguments in the appeal filed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to quash the summons issued by trial court, has recused himself of the case. In January, Justice VP Vaish had recused himself from the case after ordering daily arguments.
According to sources in the HC, the National Herald case will now be heard by Justice PS Teji from the next hearing — October 8 — after Justice Gaur expressed “uneasiness in handling the sensitive case” to Chief Justice G Rohini.
On September 3, during the previous hearing, Justice Gaur had collected synopsis of arguments from all parties and scheduled the hearing for October 8, promising speedy delivery of judgement in the 15-month-old case. “Justice Gaur is shifted from this case and Justice Teji will handle the case from October 8,” said a Registry official.
Reacting to the developments, petitioner Subramanian Swamy said he would file a fresh petition before Justice Teji for daily hearing in the matter.
“Supreme Court had on several occasions given directions that higher courts should have to decide on appeals within six months in these types of appeals. Higher courts have to take decision on the appeals filed against the trial court orders in stipulated time. This case is now going to be handled by third judge and kept undecided for past 15 months,” he said.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders were summoned by Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha on Swamy’s petition in June 26, 2014. In the first week of August, the Congress heavy weights approached Delhi High Court for quashing the trial court’s order. For the past 15 months, Congress top lawyers Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi, and Harin Raval are batting for the top leadership.
“Now the Government has started action in National Herald. The CBI and the ED started actions on the land grabbing and money laundering by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. So they are trying their tricks which I will counter at every forum,” said Swamy.