Tears welling in his eyes, an emotionally choked Supreme Court judge Justice A R Lakshmanan on Friday refused to hear a review petition of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's son Akhilesh telling a shocked court that he had received an anonymous letter levelling allegations against him.
What was slated to be an unusual open hearing of a review petition, which is normally heard in chambers, turned out to be emotion-filled high drama when the judge, who is due to retire in five days, excused himself from hearing the matter and urged the Chief Justice to constitute a new bench for hearing it.
The bench was to hear Akhilesh's review petition against en earlier order of the court directing CBI to inquire into allegations that the chief minister and his family members possessed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income.
"In seventeen-and-a-half years of my judicial career, I have never gone through such a thing. I am very much pained. The contents of the letter are so heinous that my wife and I are very disturbed," he told the court where senior counsels including former Attorneys General Soli J Sorbajee and Ashok Desai were present.
As the brother judge on the Bench Justice Altamas Kabir and senior counsel present in the court tried to comfort him and asking him to ignore the allegations, Justice Lakshmanan refused to budge and wanted a decision to be taken by Chief Justice.
He declined to go into the details of the letter. Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Akhilesh, told the judge that the Bar had no complaint against him and that he should go ahead with it. But later, he mentioned the matter before Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan who agreed to assign it to another bench and posted it for hearing on March 23.