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Delhi HC Overturns Case Transfer, Directs Principal Judges On Procedure

The Delhi High Court has revoked a transfer order for a case, citing bias as the reason. It has instructed that no case should be transferred without first seeking and taking into account feedback from the relevant judge. Additionally, the High Court has given instructions to all Principal District and Sessions judges. This decision came […]

Delhi HC Overturns Case Transfer, Directs Principal Judges On Procedure
Delhi HC Overturns Case Transfer, Directs Principal Judges On Procedure

The Delhi High Court has revoked a transfer order for a case, citing bias as the reason. It has instructed that no case should be transferred without first seeking and taking into account feedback from the relevant judge.

Additionally, the High Court has given instructions to all Principal District and Sessions judges. This decision came after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) contested the case transfer.

On Tuesday, Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma revoked the transfer order and sent the case back to the Principal District and Sessions Judge at the Rouse Avenue court. This decision pertains to the Bhushan Steel Money Laundering Case, which was moved from the judge who reportedly made comments to court staff regarding bail in ED cases.

“This Delhi HC thinks that there were no sufficient reasons to transfer the matter from the concerned learned Special Judge to another learned Judge, without calling for comments from the learned Trial Judge.”

“Given the foregoing discussion, this Court is inclined to set aside the order dated 01.05.2024,” Justice Sharma ordered on May 28.

Justice Sharma stated that a judge’s casual remark to a staff member who isn’t involved in decision-making or has any stake in case outcomes can’t be used to suggest bias in a similar case, clarifying that such comments shouldn’t lead to allegations of partiality.

In this case, even if the alleged words were spoken by the learned Special Judge, there’s no clear bias toward the respondent or undue favoritism to the prosecuting agency. The context and specific case related to the alleged comment remain unknown, minimizing any real apprehension of bias.

The Delhi HC has set guidelines for principal district and session judges on handling transfer applications. The court mandates obtaining comments from the judge whose bias is alleged, considering these comments alongside principles of real apprehension of bias, and evaluating attending circumstances before deciding on such applications.

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