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FORUM SHOPPING

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FORUM SHOPPING

Recently, to a litigant appearing before him, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said that he will not permit forum shopping.

WHAT IS FORUM SHOPPING?

When litigants or lawyers attempt to deliberately move their case to a particular judge or Court where they think the judgement could be more favourable, they are said to be “forum shopping.”

Lawyers think about which is the right forum to approach as part of their litigation strategy.

For example, one could directly approach the Supreme Court via a public interest litigation case instead of the concerned High Court because the issue could get more eyeballs.

SC’s viewpoint on Forum Shopping

The concept of forum shopping has not been rendered an exclusive definition in any Indian statute.

The Supreme Court in its 1988 ruling in ‘Chetak Construction Ltd. vs. Om Prakash’ said –

“A litigant cannot be permitted choice of the forum,” and that every attempt at forum shopping “must be crushed with a heavy hand.”

In March 2022, in the case of ‘Vijay Kumar Ghai vs. State of W.B.’, Supreme Court termed forum shopping as a “disreputable practice by the courts” that “has no sanction and paramountcy in law”.

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