Litigant can’t be permitted to browbeat court by seeking bench of choice: SC

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (PTI) A litigant cannot be permitted to “browbeat” the court by seeking a bench of choice and merely because the order might not be in favour earlier cannot be a ground to seek recusal of a judge, the Supreme Court Friday said.

The apex court observed this while dismissing an application seeking recall of its September last year order in which it had said that a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution was not maintainable for assailing the July 2018 verdict of a single judge of Karnataka High Court in a matter arising out of proceedings instituted under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.

During the hearing on the application seeking recall of the September last year order, a bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah pointed to the applicant that her earlier plea seeking similar relief was already dismissed by the court.

When the bench told the petitioner that her second plea seeking similar relief was not maintainable, she sought recusal of Justice Chandrachud from hearing her application.

Justice Chandrachud was part of the two-judge bench which had passed the order on September 3 last year.

“We see no valid and good ground for recusal by one of us. Merely because the order might not be in favour of the applicant earlier, cannot be a ground for recusal. A litigant cannot be permitted to browbeat the court by seeking a bench of its choice,” the bench said.

“Therefore, the prayer of the applicant-­petitioner in person that one of us (D Y Chandrachud, J.) should recuse from hearing the present miscellaneous application is not accepted and the said prayer is rejected,” it said.

The bench noted that petitioner had filed an application earlier seeking recall of the apex court’s order of September 3 last year.

“That thereafter, once again, the applicant-­petitioner in person has preferred the present application for the very relief, i.e., for recalling of order dated September 3, 2020 which shall not be maintainable. Even otherwise, it is required to be noted that order dated September 3, 2020 was pronounced after hearing the applicant. As observed hereinabove, earlier interim application for recalling of order dated September 3, 2020 was dismissed and at that time also the applicant-­petitioner in person was also heard,” the bench said.

“In view of the above, the present application also deserves to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed,” it said.

The top court in its September 3 last year order had made it clear that rights and remedies available to the petitioner under Article 136 of the Constitution, which deals with special leave to appeal by the apex court, to assail the high court verdict was left open. PTI ABA ABA RKS RKS