New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain’s applications seeking transfer of proceedings in money laundering and corruption cases to a different judge, saying that they hold no merit or substance.
Principal District and Sessions Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna of the Rouse Avenue Court dismissed the applications seeking transfer of pending proceedings before Special Judge Vikas Dhull to another judge, citing that allegations of bias or prejudice are easy to plead, but difficult to establish.
The court said the strong observations made by a judge cannot itself be the basis to conclude that he or she is not holding the trial in a fair and impartial manner.
It said: “A judge is supposed to conduct proceedings without fear and favour. During the course of proceedings, some orders may favour the prosecution, and some may favour the defence, but such orders cannot be made the basis of attributing bias to the judge concerned.”
It is in Jain’s case that Dhull, while deciding his bail plea in the money laundering case, had pre-decided the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case and had prima-facie declared him guilty in the case under Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI case against Jain has to next come up for arguments on charges.
To which, Sessions Judge Chandna said that parameters for granting bail and legal requirements for framing of charges are different.
She clarified: “For the purpose of framing of charge, the court is required to take prima facie view of the facts and evidence contained in the charge sheet and to come to the conclusion whether there is sufficient material to proceed with the trial of the case. In this way, although the parameters are different, some overlapping issues are required to be dealt with by the court.”
The judge also observed that transferring a matter on the basis of apprehension of bias has larger repercussions, saying that it not only derails the trial, but is also demoralising and demotivating for the judge concerned.
“Therefore, the transfer cannot be allowed on flimsy grounds as also law is well settled in this regard,” she said.
She went on to say that high courts are there for scrutiny of judicial orders, and some orders being against a particular side, cannot be a ground for transfer of case.
Chandna said: “I find that Ld. Judge has been dealing with the matter properly by following the rules of natural justice. I find nothing against the neutrality and impartiality of Ld. Judge and the plea of bias as perceived by the applicant and pleaded in the transfer application is not correct.”
Jain, who is being prosecuted by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in two related cases, is currently on interim medical bail in the money laundering case.