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CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS AND CITIZENS' RIGHTSAn Omnibus Comprising Constitutional Questions in India and Citizens' Rights, Judges and State Accountability$
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A. G. Noorani

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195678291

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195678291.001.0001

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Imputing Bias and the Law of Contempt 1

Imputing Bias and the Law of Contempt 1

(p.25) 4 Imputing Bias and the Law of Contempt1

A.G. Noorani

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses judicial bias and the law of contempt. It starts with judicial integrity, noting that judges have the power, but not the right, to ignore the mandate of a statute and render judgment despite of it. However, by that abuse of power, they violate the law. The chapter then examines whether a judge is protected by the law of contempt from the attribution of bias, if his statements give reasonable ground for the attribution. Next, it differentiates between conscious abuse of judicial power and unconscious bias. In 1970, the Supreme Court held that E.M.S. Namboodripad was guilty of contempt of Court for saying that the judges were biased because of class prejudices. However, nothing happened when Justice Chinappa articulated similar views in 1980 and 1983. It concludes that the proper response to a reasoned charge of bias in a judge is not to silence the critic but to inquire into the truth of the charge. If it is valid, the offending judge must be deserved to have proved that he is incapable of holding the position.

Keywords:   judicial bias, judicial power, contempt, judicial integrity, attribution of bias, unconscious bias

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