The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by activist Harsh Mander seeking the recusal of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi from hearing a case related to the treatment of inmates in Assam’s detention centres, reported Live Law. The court appointed Prashant Bhushan amicus curiae in the case. The bench also removed Mander’s name from the records and appointed Legal Services authority as the petitioner in the case.

Mander had filed the original petition highlighting the conditions in the state’s detention centres and claimed that inmates were being held beyond their sentences. On April 9, the Supreme Court had asked the Assam government to detail how it plans to release foreigners held in the state’s detention centres who had allegedly entered illegally.

In his application to seek Gogoi’s recusal, Mander said the comments and oral observations made by the chief justice during a previous hearing have raised serious apprehension of the possibility of a bias. Mander alleged his petition seeking humane treatment of the foreigners and alleged foreigners in detention camps have been turned on its head by the chief justice. “As the hearings proceeded, my petition seeking release of detained persons was converted into more people being arrested,” he said. “Thousand of people were being forcefully deported.”

Gogoi interjected him to say that what was said in the debate was misinterpreted by Mander as the judge’s opinion. “The opinion of the judge is reflected in the court’s order,” said Gogoi. “The main prayer is still pending before this court. How can you form an opinion that this court has decided on the issue? Is this fair?”

Gogoi said oral observations are part of the debate. “Learn to trust your judges,” he told Mander. “The day you don’t trust your judges, you have had it.”

Gogoi refused to recuse himself from hearing the case. “Recusal is destruction of the institution,” he said, according to Bar and Bench. “We are not recusing. We will not allow anybody to browbeat this institution.”