A district court here on Wednesday refused former Delhi minister Satyender Kumar Jain’s plea to transfer two cases of alleged disproportionate assets against him to another judge, saying strong observations by a judge could not be the basis to conclude that the trial was not being conducted in a fair and impartial manner.
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, District Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna said while dismissing the applications.
The two cases against the AAP leader were related to allegedly acquiring assets disproportionate to his known sources of income between February 14, 2015, when he took oath as a minister in the Government of NCT of Delhi, and May 31, 2017.
While the CBI is probing the alleged corruption, the ED is investigating the money laundering aspect.
The district judge said it was not disputed that the court was giving a hearing to both sides and that principles of natural justice were being duly followed.
“I am of the opinion that apprehension of bias as expressed by the applicant has no merit or substance,” the judge said.
Jain had urged the district judge to send the case to another court, alleging that the judge currently hearing the matter has “pre-decided the matter”.
He claimed that he had “severe apprehension in his mind that he will not get a fair hearing before the judge currently hearing the matter”.
The district judge said that when a matter is transferred from one court to another, on the basis of apprehension of bias, it has larger repercussions.
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, the judge said.
“The strong observations made by a judge cannot itself be the basis to conclude that judge is not holding the trial in a fair and impartial manner.
“A judge is supposed to conduct the 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,” the district judge said.
The district judge said that after going through the record, “I find that judge has been dealing with the matter properly by following the rules of natural justice.”
“I find nothing against the neutrality and impartiality of the judge and the plea of bias as perceived by the applicant and pleaded in the transfer application is not correct. In my opinion, this is not a fit case for allowing transfer applications of the applicant,” the district judge said while dismissing the application.
According to the CBI, Jain, while holding the office as a minister in the Government of Delhi, during the period from 14 February 2014 to 31 May 2017, had acquired assets that were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The CBI filed a charge sheet on 3 December 2018 against Satyendar Kumar Jain, Poonam Jain, Ajit Prasad Jain, Sunil Kumar Jain, Vaibhav Jain and Ankush Jain.
The ED had initiated a money-laundering investigation on the basis of a First Information Report registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 24 August 2017 “under Section 13(2) r/w 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988” against the six accused.