oppn parties Judge Recusal is a Sensitive Issue

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  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Judge Recusal is a Sensitive Issue

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
A judge who sits in judgment over a case is expected to be fair and impartial. There are many reasons that can be assumed to affect a judge’s attitude. The main among them are:

1. The judge has, through words spoken or actions, displayed bias against either the litigants or the lawyers in the case.
2. The judge has personal knowledge about the facts of the case.
3. The judge or his family is related to either the litigants or the lawyers.
4. The judge or his family has pecuniary interest in the subject matter of the case.

There is no law in India to guide judge recusal. Taking advantage of this, lawyers have now made it a trend to ask judges to recuse themselves from cases. A few days ago, a Supreme Court bench of a bench of Justice J S Khehar, CJI and Justice N V Ramanna recently commented that if this continues, the court will be left with no other alternative but to lay down a law for recusals. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Lt. Col. (Retd.) Anil Kabotra which sought the court to direct the Ministry of Law and Justice to take immediate steps to fill up existing vacancies in the judiciary as well to carry out reforms and expansion as per the 245th report of the Law Commission. During the course of the hearing, advocate Mathew J Nedumpara, who was not appearing in the case, intervened and sought the recusal of the CJI from the matter.

The bench was livid, first for the fact that the advocate intervened without permission, and then because he was making an unfair demand. Justice Khehar said “we will like to hear you and decide the matter. We are here for years and you tell us to recuse.” The bench further said that “you people just come here and say things that this judge should recuse or that judge should recuse himself. We would like to lay down the law on the issue of recusal of judges.”

Even if the Supreme Court lays down a law, there is no guarantee that the issue will die down. For, if judges of Supreme Court are to decide on their own recusal, it will lead to a conflict of interest situation. It is a guiding principle of law that no one can be a judge in his own case. A law for recusal exists in the US, but still problems arise. Hence, there needs to be a lot thinking to be done before a law can be made on the subject, either through judicial initiative or by legislative intervention.