Telangana HC judge repeats ‘bench hunting’ remark on Advocate General

A division bench of Justices M.S. Ramachandra Rao and T. Vinod Kumar of Telangana High Court on Tuesday said the writ petition relating to usage of Krishna river water would be heard after lunch break.

As the Bench assembled at 10.30 a.m., Advocate General B.S. Prasad sought some time to present his contentions. He informed the bench that he had made a mention of the matter before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli. The AG said that he requested the bench led by the CJ to hear the writ petition on Krishna river water usage as per the roster.

“The CJ told me to inform the the petitioners’ counsel Vedula Venkataramana about this,” the AG told Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao. The judge said that he had no message or information from the First Court (a division bench headed by CJ) on the point raised by the AG.

The judge said the bench comprising him and Justice T. Vinod Kumar had already partly heard the petition the previous day and there was no reason to defer the hearing without any reason. Meanwhile, senior counsel Vedula Venkataramana appearing for the petitioners informed Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao that he was served a copy of interlocutory application filed by Telangana government requesting the First Court to hear the matter.

According to Mr. Vedula Venkataramana the State government mentioned that since Justice M.S. Ramachadnra Rao hailed from Andhra Pradesh and hence would not prefer the matter to be heard by him. It was stated that the bench comprising Justices M.S. Ramachandra Rao and T. Vinod Kumar “might not hear the petition”, the senior counsel said.

Justice M.S. Ramachanra Rao said it was unbecoming on the part of Telangana Advocate General’s office to make such request. “This amounts to bench hunting”, the judge said. The judge made similar remark the previous day when the AG requested the judge to recuse himself from hearing the matter.

The bench, however, posted the matter to post-lunch session as the AG stuck to his request of seeking time to present his contentions.

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