When can a judge opt out of a case?-THE HINDU-16-02-2020


The case was finally heard by another bench. Recusal usually takes place when a judge has a conflict of interest or has a prior association with the parties in the case.

What are the rules on recusals?

There are no written rules on the recusal of judges from hearing cases listed before them in constitutional courts. Similarly, if the judge has, in the past, appeared for one of the parties involved in a case, the call for recusal may seem right. A recusal inevitably leads to delay. The case goes back to the Chief Justice, who has to constitute a fresh Bench.

What happened in the Judge Loya and Assam detention centres cases?

In 2018, petitioners in the Judge Loya case sought the recusal of Supreme Court judges, Justices A. The case banked on the written statements of two judges from that High Court, both saying that Judge Loya’s death was from natural causes. Recusal, the court observed, would mean abdication of duty. In May 2019, in the middle of a hearing of a PIL filed by activist Harsh Mander about the plight of inmates in Assam’s detention centres, the then-Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was asked to recuse himself. In a lengthy order, Justice Gogoi said a litigant cannot seek recusal of the judge.

“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.

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