Judges should adopt uniform approach in recusals: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that judges should adopt uniform approach in recusing themselves from hearing cases.

The court’s observation came when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the CBI, said one of the judges of a division bench of the Himchal Pradesh High Court had once recused from hearing a case of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and later heard another and granted relief.

“If you do not want to hear a case then, please do not hear the other,” a bench comprising justices F M I Kalifulla and U U Lalit said, adding that there should be a proper uniform practice in doing so.

The bench was hearing of petitions of the CBI.

The probe agency has filed a transfer petition and a special leave petition in the apex court seeking transfer of the case against Singh from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi and setting aside of the order passed by the state high court, respectively.

Rohatgi said that one of the judges of the High Court bench, which has granted the relief, had earlier recused from hearing a case, involving the Chief Minister, on the ground that he (leader) was once his client.

“You cannot pick and choose cases for recusal,” Rohatgi said and referred to the news paper reports and an order passed earlier by the high court bench comprising then Chief Justice Kurian Joseph (now a SC Judge) and Justice Rajiv Sharma.

“This learned judge is on record that he will not hear the case as he (Singh) was his client. The learned judge should have said so in this matter as well,” he said.