Forum shopping or another term associated with it which is “bench hunting” is a legal term that refers to choices made deliberately by lawyers or litigants to bring their case before a particular court or judge aiming to obtain a more favourable outcome in their case.
Lawyers who anticipate particular forums to be appropriate for a particular case for example the Supreme Court of India in a certain case to gain greater visibility through avenues such as a PIL strategically try their matter to be addressed before such particular bench or judges, attempts of which have generally been disapproved as opting for specific judges or benches are not supported.
The Supreme Court of India’s Stand-
The Supreme Court of India too has denounced any form of forum shopping in India as its practice is not in alignment with the integrity of the judicial system.
In Vijay Kumar Ghai vs. State of W.B it was described by the SC that forum shopping is a disreputable practice that does not have any legal sanction and paramountcy. The respondent, in this case, was criticized by the SC for filing multiple complaints in different courts that indicated a malicious intent on behalf of the respondent to harass the petitioners by building pressure on them to settle for the case.
Countries like USA and UK too employ measures to prevent any attempts of forum shopping.
Forum shopping is widely criticized and turned down by imposing hefty fines that may go up to one lakh rupees for practising the same. The courts are mainly of the view that such practices undermine and disrupt judicial fairness with imposing additional burdens on courts opted specifically.