Chief Justice of India R M Lodha today took strong exception to a plea that he should recuse himself from hearing an inter-state dispute involving Rajasthan as he hailed from the state. "I am born in India and I am an Indian first more than Rajasthani," Justice Lodha said when senior advocate Harish Salve wondered whether the CJI would recuse from the case.
"I am sorry to hear this particularly if it is coming from a senior advocate and a person of such a vast experience," the CJI said when the matter relating to water dispute among northern states was mentioned before the bench. Salve then clarified that he has no problem if the matter is being heard by the CJI and said that it would set up a good precedent.
The CJI said he does not have problem in recusing himself from the case but "I am sorry to hear that I have to recuse just because I am from Rajasthan". Justice Lodha recalled that he has worked in Bombay High Court for 13 years, and this does not mean that he should opt out of cases coming from Maharashtra.