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Current Affairs

Recusal by judges

Date: 24 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Two judges of the Supreme Court have recused themselves from hearing cases related to violence in West Bengal.

 

Background

This is not the first time that judges in courts have recused themselves. It is seen more as a way to steer clear of controversy.

 

Details

  • The judges usually withdraw from hearing cases if they feel they may have a conflict of interest. This will also prevent the bias perception while case is decided.

  • The conflict of interest may be in many ways. This could be due to personal relations with the party or having financial interest in the commercial litigant.

  • The due process of law procedure is being applied in this case that says that no person can be a judge in their own case.

  • Judges will have a duty of upholding fairness regardless of the situation. By having a conflict, the final judgement may not be fair enough.

  • Another reason for recusal can be the appeal in Supreme Court, where the judge may have to look at the same case in which they have given judgement when they were serving in High Court.

 

Recusal process

  • There is no clear procedure for recusal. It is up to the judge to make the decision based on one’s conscience and discretion.

  • Even the lawyers arguing the case of litigants can bring such issue before the judge and request them to recuse. Such case will go before the CJI for fresh allotment.

 

Refusal to recuse

  • The judges can either recuse or continue hearing the matter. There are no provisions barring the judges from hearing cases if they feel they can make the correct judgement.

  • Judges are not needed to give reason for their recusal. Some judges disclose it in open court while others do not.