Maharashtra government apologises to Justice Abhay Oka for alleging bias
An embarrassed Maharashtra government apologised for levelling allegations of bias against Justice Abhay Oka of the Bombay High Court. Three days after it sought a change of bench accusing the judge of bias in the noise pollution matter, the Maharashtra government withdrew its accusations.
On Monday, Attorney General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni withdrew the allegations of bias levelled against Justice Abhay Oka but the judge lashed out at the government for taking the Bombay High Court for a raid and misrepresenting facts before the Chief Justice. "You have taken this 155-year-old institution for a ride. First, go and apologise to the Chief Justice whom you misled by not showing our order. Your apology is not bonafide," Justice Abhay Oka lambasted the Maharashtra government.
The judge took the government to task over teaching the judiciary what was fair and not. On Thursday, the Maharashtra government accused Justice Abhay Oka of the High Court's division bench of "harbouring serious bias" against it in matters relating to noise pollution and silent zones. Following the allegation, Chief Justice Manjula Chellur then transferred the cases to another bench. However, the full bench was again headed by the same judge.
"You should a clear and loud signal that you cannot play with this August institution. We trust the Advocate General but Maharashtra government does not trust the Bombay High Court," Justice Oka observed.
Caught on the back foot, the Maharashtra government said that the grounds of contention was not raised as an allegation. "Unfortunately, the intention has been misunderstood and misinterpreted to project state is against the judiciary," the attorney general said before withdrawing the allegation and apologising to Justice Oka.
A three-judge bench of the Bombay High Court is to hear the matter of noise pollution. Justice AS Oka is also part of that bench.