Ex-Judge Joins Congress, Supreme Court Removes Him from Panel to Settle Maharashtra Disputes

New Delhi: Faced with an unusual situation, the Supreme Court had to remove a retired judge from a panel to mediate disputes between the Maharashtra government and state co-operative Bank after he joined a political party.
The court freed retired Bombay High Court judge Abhay M Thipsay as the state government informed it that he has joined the Congress.
The judges on the bench smiled when the state counsel handed over the letter, apprising the bench of Thipsay joining the political party.
“What! He has joined a political party. It doesn’t happen very often. Show us the letter,” remarked the bench when the counsel expressed difficulty in issuing a formal notification for setting up the claims committee.
Thipsay was nominated as the judicial member on the claims committee to mediate fiscal disputes between the state government and Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank Ltd.

He, along with another expert to be nominated by the Reserve Bank of India, was given the task to settle rows over amounts payable by the state government to the bank by an order of the court in April.

But in June, Thipsay joined the Congress to “fight rising fascism and intolerance”, and he was welcomed to the party fold by Congress president Rahul Gandhi at a formal event.

On being informed about this development, the bench then decided to nominate retired chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court SJ Vazifdar as the new member of the committee.

“A letter dated 9th July, 2018 has been placed before us which would go to show as Justice Abhay M Thipsay, in the meantime, has joined a political party…we hereby appoint Shri Justice SJ Vazifdar, former Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court as a member of the claims committee,” stated the court order.

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