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Litigant Can't Question A Judge On 'Perceived Bias' During The Course Of Hearing, Says SC [Read Order]

Ashok Kini
8 May 2019 1:36 PM GMT
Litigant Cant Question A Judge On Perceived Bias During The Course Of Hearing, Says SC [Read Order]
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To do so, would encourage parties to ask for change of the Judge in the hope that someone else is more likely to agree with them and not take a contrary view.

In its order dismissing Harsh Mander's plea seeking recusal of the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi from hearing the Assam Detention Centre cases, the Supreme Court has observed that a litigant should not be permitted and allowed to question a Judge on 'perceived bias' during the course of hearing. To do so, would encourage parties to ask for change of the Judge in the hope...

In its order dismissing Harsh Mander's plea seeking recusal of the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi from hearing the Assam Detention Centre cases, the Supreme Court has observed that a litigant should not be permitted and allowed to question a Judge on 'perceived bias' during the course of hearing.

To do so, would encourage parties to ask for change of the Judge in the hope that someone else is more likely to agree with them and not take a contrary view. Choosing judges in such a manner during the course of hearing would directly interfere with the administration of justice, said the bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

The court observed that the grounds stated by Harsh Mander in his application for recusal of the Chief Justice from the Bench have the potential of causing damage, harm and stall judicial adjudication. It said:

"We would like to say that a litigant should not be permitted and allowed to question a Judge on perceived bias especially after hearing has commenced and orders on different dates have been passed. Normally, this should be left to the Judge himself who is bound by the oath of office to administer justice to all persons alike without fear, favour and prejudice."

The court said that asking questions is part of judicial functions to be performed by judges. Rejecting his plea, the bench said:

"We would also observe that judicial functions, sometimes, involve performance of unpleasant and difficult tasks, which require asking questions and soliciting answers to arrive at a just and fair decision. If the assertions of bias as stated are to be accepted, it would become impossible for the Judge to seek clarifications and answers."

The court also removed the name of the petitioner [Harsh Mander] from the records and appointed Legal Services authority as the petitioner in the case. Mander's previous Counsel Prashant Bhushan has been appointed as the Amicus Curie in the case.

The case is now listed on Thursday (9th May 2019) for further hearing.

Read Order


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