Chapter

Imputing Bias and the Law of Contempt<sup>1</sup>

A.G. Noorani

in CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS AND CITIZENS' RIGHTS

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195678291
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080588 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195678291.003.0070
Imputing Bias and the Law of Contempt1

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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

Chapter.  3566 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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