Should the relatives of the judges’ practise in the same court?
An advocate had filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) with the Supreme Court in November, 2012 seeking a list of judges whose relatives are practising as lawyers in the same court. The public information officer (PIO) informed him that the Court does not maintain any such list. On not receiving the desired information, he approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) which has asked the PIO to appear before the bench on October 30 when the case is going to be taken up.
It has been alleged that sons and other relatives of seven judges are practising as lawyers in the Supreme Court. There is no specific legislation / code of conduct for a judge that bars relatives or children of the judge from practising in the same court. The Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, 2002 mandates that the relatives of a judge shall not appear before that judge. One of the principles of natural justice says ‘No man shall be a judge in his own case’.
The outcome of the hearing would be eagerly awaited by transparency activists as to whether the CIC directs the court to prepare such a list and put it on its website.