Jethmalani demanded Rs 50 lakh in damages jointly from the board members, barring Narendra Modi and the ailing Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  He asked the court to declare the board's decision "null and void".

Girish Katpalia, a joint registrar of the Delhi High Court, on Friday recused himself from hearing the case, citing personal reasons. "It would have been my privilege to hear the case but in my view it is a matter of adherence to the ethics and also a matter of principles," he said when advocate Ashok Arora, appearing for Jethmalani, told the court that he should hear the case.

Katpalia has now referred the case to the registrar general (original) to mark it to another court. The matter will come up for hearing October 28. Jethmalani alleged that the board's decision to expel him was driven by "malice and desire to defame".

"All proceedings leading to it (decision) are ultra vires and unconstitutional. Some purported rules which are presented have not been ever framed," the defamation suit said.

"The proceedings are without observing elementary principles of fair play and opportunity," he added.
The parliamentary board is the Bharatiya Janata Party's highest decision making body and has 12 members: Rajnath Singh, L K Advani, Vajpayee, Modi, Murli Manohar Joshi, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, M  Venkaiah Naidu, Ramlal and T C  Gehlot.

Vajpayee did not attend the board meetings while Modi was not a member then. Jethmalani was expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years for openly attacking Swaraj and Jaitley.

(Agencies)

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