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Suppose a Situation Arises Where a Recusal by a Judge is Used as a Means to Allow a Party to Choose Its Own Bench, Will It Be Axiomatic from the Passage that Such a Recusal is Proper, - Legal Reasoning

Question

MCQ

One of the reasons for recusal of a Judge is that litigants/the public might entertain a reasonable apprehension about his impartiality. As Lord Chief Justice Hewart said: "It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done." And therefore, in order to uphold the credibility of the integrity institution, Judge recuses from hearing the case. A Judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court, while assuming Office, takes an oath as prescribed under Schedule III to the Constitution of India, that: "… I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws." Called upon to discharge the duties of the Office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, it is only desirable, if not proper, that a Judge, for any unavoidable reason like some pecuniary interest, affinity or adversity with the parties in the case, direct or indirect interest in the outcome of the litigation, family directly involved in litigation on the same issue elsewhere, the Judge being aware that he or someone in his immediate family has an interest, financial or otherwise that could have a substantial bearing as a consequence of the decision in the litigation, etc., to recuse himself from the adjudication of a particular matter. No doubt, these examples are not exhaustive. The simple question is, whether the adjudication by the Judge concerned, would cause reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonably informed litigant and fair-minded public as to his impartiality. Being an institution whose hallmark is transparency, it is only proper that the Judge discharging high and noble duties, at least broadly indicate the reasons for recusing from the case so that the litigants or the well-meaning public may not entertain any misunderstanding. Once reasons for recusal are indicated, there will not be any room for attributing any motive for the recusal. To put it differently, it is part of his duty to be accountable to the Constitution by upholding it without fear or favour, affection or ill- will. Therefore, I am of the view that it is the constitutional duty, as reflected in one's oath, to be transparent and accountable, and hence, a Judge is required to indicate reasons for his recusal from a particular case.

Suppose a situation arises where a recusal by a Judge is used as a means to allow a party to choose its own bench, will it be axiomatic from the passage that such recusal is proper, morally or/and constitutionally?

Options

  • No, such recusal is improper as it will strengthen bias, doubt and diminish confidence in the minds of litigants.

  • Yes, the passage says a recusal is consistent with the concept of judicial propriety and constitutional standard thus if a request for recusal is mechanically accepted it would give room to “unscrupulous litigants to have judged of their choice”.

  • No, such recusal is proper as it will contribute to the cause of Judicial Independence and judicial integrity.

  • It cannot be inferred without additional information.

Solution

Yes, the passage says a recusal is consistent with the concept of judicial propriety and constitutional standard thus if a request for recusal is mechanically accepted it would give room to “unscrupulous litigants to have judged of their choice”.

Explanation:

The idea of the paragraph is that recusal should be taken if the presence of a judge on the bench causes bias against the right-minded individuals. Applying this principle in the given situation where a litigant attributing bias on the Judge will have the bench of his/her choice will lead to a phenomenon of forum shopping. Thus, Option b captures the fact situation and essence of the passage the routine recusal would give room to an "unscrupulous litigant to have a Judge of their choice".

Concept: Indian Constitution (Entrance Exams)
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