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SC deprecates litigants accusing judges of bias

By Our Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI, APRIL 7. The Supreme Court has deprecated the tendency of litigants accusing judges of bias if they did not get a favourable order. The court imposed Rs. 25,000 costs on a litigant who wanted recall of an order on the ground that the judge was an interested party and hence he was biased in deciding the case against him.

A Bench of Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice A.R. Lakshmanan in a recent order said, "The facts of this case call for some observation being made in the interest of preventing ripples being caused in the stream of justice by unscrupulous litigants indulging in misadventures — playing the game of hide and seek; first, willingly submitting to the hearing by a judge and taking a chance of success and then turning around seeking the recall of inconvenient decisions when they have failed".

"We cannot countenance such activity of misadventure on the part of the litigants almost laying traps for the judges who are already overburdened with a heavy list of the matters for hearing and many a time have to rush through to clear the day's cause list," the Bench said.

In a civil dispute, one of the parties who did not get a favourable order accused the judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court of bias as he (judge) as counsel had appeared for the other side. He filed a review petition before the same judge, who rejected it. Against this order, the present special leave petition was filed.

Disposing of the SLP, the Bench said if only the appellant had brought the fact to the notice of the judge before the hearing of the case, he (judge) would have certainly excused himself from hearing. But that was not done and the appellant must therefore bear the burden of fault entirely on himself.

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