When a Judge recuses without reasons, can a litigant or third party intervene, comment or enquire? Del HC answers

Delhi High Court: Asha Menon, J., held that, when a Judge recuses, no litigant or third party has any right to intervene, comment or enquire. The recusal has to be respected, whether a reason has been spelt out in detail or not.

Instant petition under Section 482 CrPC had been filed for setting aside the order passed by the Special Judge and directions for the resignation of FIR have also been sought.

Petitioner’s Counsel submitted that the petitioner was the Director and authorized representative of the Indian Fitness Connect Private Limited. Ozone Spa Private Limited filed an application under Section 156(3) CrPC against the petitioner and other Directors of India Fitness Connect which was pending before the Metropolitan Magistrate.

Petitioner alleged that the said complainant had sought to influence the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate.

High Court found that there was absolutely no merit in the present petition.

Further, the Bench added that Special Judge was justified in disallowing the application under Section 156(3) CrPC and directing the registration of an FIR, as no police investigation was required in the matter. However, it was the view of this Court that the Special Judge erred in allowing the petitioner to lead evidence in the complaint filed by her.

Additionally, the order of the Metropolitan Magistrate before whom the complaint case against the petitioner was pending, was clearly a recusal order. Supreme Court’s decision in Assn. v. Union of India, (2016) 5 SCC 1 while dealing with the issue of recusal observed that:

“A Judge may recuse at his own, from a case entrusted to him by the Chief Justice. That would be a matter of his own choosing. But recusal at the asking of a litigating party, unless justified, must never to be acceded to. For that would give the impression that the Judge had been scared out of the case, just by the force of the objection…..”

The Bench observed that,

“…an investigation into the cause/reason for recusal by a Judge, particularly, by a litigant, would itself be an interference with the course of justice.”

 Court also added that, had a Judge refrained from giving a reason for recusal, no one can insist on the Judge making such disclosures. The discretion of the Judge concerned in the matter of disclosure is absolute.

It was noted that the petitioner sought full disclosures by forcing the police to make inquiries from the Metropolitan Magistrate, who in order to ensure fairness in the trial, chose to recuse.

It was for the concerned Metropolitan Magistrate to decide whether to initiate any contempt or other criminal proceedings against the petitioner and the “known person”. The learned Metropolitan Magistrate did not find any need to do so and it is not for the petitioner to question that decision, which is what she is seeking to achieve by insisting on the registration of an FIR and filing a complaint case under Section 200 Cr.P.C. To that extent the refusal of the police to register the FIR and the refusal of the learned Special Judge to advise the registration of the FIR are both proper.

Hence, the petition filed by the petitioner seeking registration of the FIR and quashing of the order of the Special Judge dated 16th July, 2020 was dismissed. [Sherry George v. GNCTD, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1031, decided on 13-4-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr. Ankur Mittal and Mr. Abhay Gupta, Advocates.

For Respondent: Manjeet Arya, APP

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