Madras high court judge refuses to recuse himself from hearing granite firm cases
Justice B Pugalendhi observed that the advocates representing the granite firm sought to place the cases before some other judge, as he had earlier appeared as a special government pleader and additional advocate general (AAG) representing the state government against the granite firm in other cases.
The judge said though he had represented the government in the high court and Supreme Court in other granite-related cases, he had not represented it in the present batch of pending cases and hence he fails to understand the merit in the plea. He observed that the government, based on merit and other things, hires advocates as law officers to represent it before various courts of law, for which personal motive cannot be attributed.
As special government pleader and as an AAG, if he had represented the state, it simply meant he had represented the government against the opposite party, in the official capacity.
The judge said that the apex court has held that the relationship between the government and law officers is that of a client and counsel. Merely because he has represented several government bodies as government counsel, it cannot be a bar for him in taking up any case filed by the government or against the government.
“Even before commencing the arguments, such a plea has been raised, not once, but twice. Withdrawing from a case merely on a party’s request allows the parties to cherry-pick a bench of their choice,” observed the judge.
The judge said if the plea is entertained and the court recused itself from hearing the case, such an act will be a breach of the solemn responsibility vested upon the court by the Constitution, apart from deviating from the roster allotted by the Madras high court Chief Justice.
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However, the number of active cases came down to 56,738 from 57,968 on Friday. At the end of the day, 7,010 were discharged, taking the total number of cured people to 1,90,966.
Hotspot Chennai continued to report the maximum number of cases and deaths. On Saturday, 1,074 fresh cases and 27 more deaths were reported, while three adjoining districts together reported 987 cases and 13 deaths.
Kancheepuram reported 368 cases while Chengalpet and Tiruvallur recorded 314 and 305 cases respectively. Tiruvallur reported seven deaths.
The active cases in Chennai region was 22,351. The other northern districts to record a high number of cases were Thiruvannamalai (242), Vellore (197), Cuddalore (182), Villupuram (158) and Ranipet (116), taking the total number of cases reported in the region to 3,038 and deaths to 48. There were 31,379 active cases in the eleven northern districts.
There were 1,758 fresh cases in 10 southern districts. The districts reported 38 deaths. While Theni (327), Virudhunagar (286), Tuticorin (243), Tirunelveli (181), Tenkasi (178), Madurai (166) and Kanyakumari (198) recorded cases in three digits, Dindigul (81), Sivaganga (61) and Ramnad (37) recorded cases in two digits.
Madurai recorded ten deaths while Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari recorded six deaths each.
The eight central districts, which together recorded 564 cases, had 4,901 active cases. Barring Thanjavur (167), Trichy (136) and Pudukkottai (91), all other districts recorded cases below 50. No death was recorded in the region.
In the west, Coimbatore continued to record the highest number of cases and deaths. On Saturday, the district had 238 cases and 10 deaths. The district crossed the 5,000 cases mark.
While the total number of cases stands at 5,059, the number of active cases went up to 1,750 cases.
As many as 216 people were discharged in Coimbatore, taking the total number of recovered patients to 3,245.
Erode (8) and Dharmapuri (9) recorded a single digit rise, the other districts in the region reported cases in two digits. While Salem had two deaths, Tirupur reported one death.