Table of Contents
- Why do judges recuse themselves and how? A look at recent judicial recusals
Facts for Prelims
- Forum shopping
Why do judges recuse themselves and how? A look at recent judicial recusals
Judicial recusals, or the voluntary withdrawal of a judge from a case, have become a topic of discussion due to recent instances in India.
Why do judges recuse?
- Judges may recuse themselves when there is a potential conflict of interest or a perception of bias.
- Conflict of interest can arise from various factors, such as holding shares in a litigant company or having a personal association with a party.
- Judicial recusals are based on the principle of impartiality and the need for justice to be seen to be done.
Procedure for recusal:
- There are two types of recusals: automatic recusal, where a judge voluntarily withdraws, and recusal requested by a party based on bias or personal interest.
- The decision to recuse lies with the judge, and no party can force a judge to withdraw.
- If a judge recuses, the case is transferred to the Chief Justice for assignment to an alternate bench.
- While India lacks codified rules on recusals, the Supreme Court has issued judgments outlining factors to consider when deciding on recusals.
Recording reasons for recusal:
- The practice of recording reasons for recusal varies among judges.
- Some judges specify oral reasons in open court, while others issue written orders with recorded reasons.
- Lack of disclosure of reasons has led to criticism regarding judicial transparency, especially in sensitive cases.
- Different opinions exist among judges on whether reasons for recusal should be disclosed.
Supreme Court rules on recusals:
- The Supreme Court has established guidelines for determining the impartiality of a judge.
- The reasonableness of the apprehension of bias in the mind of the concerned party is a crucial factor.
- The Court has defined judicial bias as a preconceived opinion or predisposition that renders a judge incapable of impartiality.
- The Court has also established tests to assess the presence of bias, such as the “real danger” test and the perspective of a fair-minded observer.
Practices in foreign jurisdictions:
- The United States has well-defined laws on recusals, specifying grounds for disqualification of judges.
- The United Kingdom’s law on recusals has evolved through judicial pronouncements, with the “real danger” test initially adopted.
- The UK later introduced the “likelihood of bias” test, considering the perspective of a fair-minded and reasonable observer.
Judicial recusals are voluntary withdrawals by judges to prevent potential conflicts of interest or perceptions of bias. The decision to recuse rests with the judge, and reasons for recusal may or may not be recorded. While India lacks codified rules on recusals, the Supreme Court has provided guidance on assessing impartiality. Foreign jurisdictions, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, have established laws and tests to regulate recusals.
CJI Chandrachud recently condemned ‘forum shopping’.
What is the Practice of Forum Shopping?
- Forum shopping refers to the deliberate attempt by litigants or lawyers to choose a specific judge or court where they believe the outcome of their case would be more favorable.
Considerations in Litigation Strategy:
- Lawyers strategically decide which forum or court to approach when filing a case.
- They may choose a particular forum, such as the Supreme Court, for more visibility or impact, like in public interest litigation cases.
- However, it is generally discouraged to make obvious attempts to bypass the normal process or avoid a specific judge.
Supreme Court Ruling:
- The Supreme Court, in the case of ‘Chetak Construction Ltd. vs. Om Prakash’ in 1988, stated that litigants cannot have unrestricted choice of the forum.
- The court emphasized that every instance of forum shopping should be strongly discouraged.
Forum Non-Conveniens Principle:
- In many common law countries, the “forum non-conveniens” principle is used to prevent forum shopping.
- This principle allows a court to exercise discretionary powers and refuse jurisdiction if another court or forum would be more convenient for hearing the case.
- By dismissing a case in the interests of justice and the parties involved, the court can allocate it to the appropriate bench or forum.
Recently, India’s AI Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’ has been ranked at No. 75 in the world at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 2023) in Germany.
About Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’:
- The supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’ has been included in the 61st edition of the Top 500 Global Supercomputing List.
- It is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) supercomputer installed at C-DAC, Pune, as part of the National Program on AI by the Government of India.
- AIRAWAT is manufactured by Netweb Technologies and stands as India’s largest and fastest AI supercomputing system, with a speed of 13,170 teraflops.
- Empowering Various Sectors: AIRAWAT will empower academia, research labs, scientific community, industry, and startups to develop AI-enabled products and solutions to tackle India-specific grand challenges and complex real-life problems.
- Revolutionizing Sectors: It has the potential to revolutionize sectors such as weather forecasting, drug discovery, climate modeling, and artificial intelligence research.
About Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC):
- C-DAC is a prominent research and development organization operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in India.
- It focuses on various domains, including information technology, electronics, and supercomputing.
- C-DAC was established in 1988 with the aim of building supercomputers in response to the denial of importing supercomputers by the USA.
- It achieved a significant milestone in 1991 by building India’s first indigenously developed supercomputer called Param 8000.
Scientists have recently announced that the leprosy bacillus, which is microscopically indistinguishable from that of tuberculosis, can be destroyed by an injunction of oils.
- Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a chronic infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae.
- The disease primarily affects the skin and peripheral nerves, and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent disabilities.
- Leprosy is more commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions.
- It is considered a neglected tropical disease (NTD) and is still present in over 120 countries, with more than 200,000 new cases reported annually.
- Leprosy can affect individuals of all ages, from young children to the elderly.
- The bacteria that causes leprosy is transmitted through respiratory droplets from the nose and mouth of untreated individuals.
- Close and frequent contact with untreated cases increases the risk of transmission.
- The main symptom of leprosy is the presence of skin sores, lumps, or bumps that do not heal after several weeks or months.
- Nerve damage can result in the loss of sensation in the arms and legs, as well as muscle weakness.
- Leprosy is curable with a treatment called multidrug therapy (MDT).
- Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in preventing disability associated with leprosy.
National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP):
- The NLEP is a Health Scheme sponsored by the central government under the National Health Mission of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India.
- The program is led by the Deputy Director of Health Services (Leprosy) under the administrative control of the Directorate General Health Services.
- While the strategies and plans for NLEP are developed at the central level, the program is implemented by the states and union territories (UTs).
- The primary objective of the program is to detect leprosy cases at an early stage and provide free and complete treatment to prevent the development of Grade II Disability (G2D) in affected individuals.