26 Jan 2023 6:06 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently dismissed a woman's petition seeking transfer of a divorce case on the ground of alleged bias and favouritism by the Family Court Judge. The divorce case has been filed by her husband.Justice C.S. Dias said the petitioner, a woman lawyer, has made a "scathing attack" on the Family Court Judge by questioning his integrity, honesty and impartiality, on the sole...
The Kerala High Court recently dismissed a woman's petition seeking transfer of a divorce case on the ground of alleged bias and favouritism by the Family Court Judge. The divorce case has been filed by her husband.
Justice C.S. Dias said the petitioner, a woman lawyer, has made a "scathing attack" on the Family Court Judge by questioning his integrity, honesty and impartiality, on the sole reason that he had passed a string of orders against her.
"There is no foundation or material to corroborate the accusation other than the bald and wild allegations in the transfer petition," said the court.
The Court said it is well-settled that an erroneous order cannot be labelled as an order passed with ‘bias’ or ‘favouritism’. It added that the petitioner has "miserably failed" to substantiate the allegation of bias.
"The petitioner cannot arm twist and browbeat the learned Judges to get things done in her own way. This Court sternly warns the petitioner to stop her habit of levelling unsubstantiated insinuations against the learned Judges and undermining their dignity and the majesty of law. With reluctance, I refrain from imposing costs on the petitioner on the faintest perception that the party in person has been ill-advised," it observed, while dismissing the petition.
The petitioner's husband has filed a petition before the Family Court, Irinjalakud for a decree of divorce. In response, she filed several applications in the case. The applications were dismissed by the Family Court.
In the petition seeking transfer of case, she accused the Family Court judge of not complying with the Supreme Court decisions on perjury and allowing her husband to "to poison the stream of justice". She also said the judge's acts indicate an "extraneous consideration" and tantamount "to gross judicial impropriety, indiscipline, lack of integrity, gross misconduct and an act unbecoming of a judicial officer".
She also submitted that her complaint before the High Court Registrar for removal of the judge from office was "closed".
"The petitioner has lost faith in Family Court because the learned Judge is colluding with the respondent’s lawyers. His acts are adversely affecting the administration of justice," she submitted
On the other hand, it was contended by Advocates T.N. Manoj and Abhilash M.J. on behalf of the respondent that the petitioner is suffering from Bipolar Affective Disorder, and that she has made allegations against all the Presiding Officers who pass orders against her.
The court was told that her husband is physically disabled, and has difficulty in travelling, and her sole intention is only to protract the proceedings in divorce petition.
Since allegations of bias and favouritism had been raised against the Family Court Judge, the high court had called for a report from the Judge. The Family Court Judge told the court that he has no objection in the case being transferred as he is discharging his duties to the best of his conscious and as per law.
Findings of the Court
Justice Dias said while convenience of the women and children is generally to be given due consideration and preference while considering a petition for transfer, the said principles would not apply here, since the the petitioner has sought transfer alleging bias on the part of the Family Court Judge.
The Court in this case took note of the precedents such as R.Balakrishna Pillai v. State of Kerala (2000), Harita Sunil Parab v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors. (2018), Abraham Thomas Puthooran v. Manju Abraham (2022), and others where the position regarding transfer of a case on the ground of bias has been discussed.
"The exposition of law casts the onus of proof on the shoulders of the person alleging bias to substantiate that his apprehensions are reasonable, genuine and justifiable," the court said.
Observing that there is no foundation to the allegations, the court said:
"Irrefutably, the petitioner has not challenged any of the adverse orders passed against her, and the orders have attained finality. Thus, it is to be inferred that the petitioner is indirectly attacking the orders through the transfer petition."
It placed special emphasis upon Supreme Court's observations in Haridas Das v. Usha Rani Banik (2007), wherein the Apex Court has observed that Judge bashing and using derogatory and contemptuous language against Judges has become a favourite pastime of some people.
Case Title: RB. v. AB.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Ker) 44
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment