State Your Case, Lordship – Judge recusals for vague reasons are increasing. CJI should lead the process for procedure

Source: The post is based on the article “State Your Case, Lordship – Judge recusals for vague reasons are increasing. CJI should lead the process for procedure” published in The Times of India on 14th April 2023.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: About the recusal system.

News: Recently, the fourth judge has recused himself from hearing the Maharashtra-Karnataka border tussle on Belagavi. The judge reportedly recused himself since Karnataka is his home state. This highlights the urgent need for the Supreme Court to reform the recusal system.

Note: The three other judges who earlier recused themselves from this particular case were from Karnataka too.

What is the recusal system?

Recusal is the removal of oneself as a judge or policymaker in a particular matter. Ordinarily, judges recuse over conflict of interest.

However, a) India has no laid down procedure for judges to stand down from cases, b) often judges don’t give reasons for recusal.

Generally, recusal is advised if the presence of a judge impedes the independence of the bench.

However, when recusal is sought without substantial reason, it raises as much doubt. On the other hand, justifying non-recusal and allowing opaqueness about recusal are equally damaging to the trust reposed in the courts, especially since these are constitutional courts.

Must read: Explained: How judges recuse from cases, and why

What should be done to ensure a proper recusal system?

Define a protocol: Judges have argued that it is desirable to specify reasons for recusal to meet constitutional norms of transparency. Hence, a protocol should be defined for proper recusal.

Chief Justice should step in: CJI should lead the process for the recusal procedure, or else they will create more suspicion.

Read more: Unnecessary Mystery: Judges recusing from cases without specifying reasons hurts the entire judiciary. SC must frame rules
Print Friendly and PDF