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Battery of Senior lawyers mention after Justice Arun Mishra contempt threat: What was said

Battery of Senior lawyers mention after Justice Arun Mishra contempt threat: What was said

Bar & Bench

A battery of Senior Counsel assembled in the courtroom of Justice Arun Mishra today in the background of the face-off between the judge and Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan on Tuesday.

While the incidents of Tuesday betrayed a rift between the Bar and the Bench, today’s “hearing” as it were reflected more of an understanding.

Here is an account of what transpired in the courtroom.

Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal was the first to speak.

  • Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal tells the Court why the Lawyers have gathered before the Court. “We are gathered here and are part of a great institution of which judges are on that side and we on this side”.
  • We wish to convey something about courtesy and understanding and patience, Sibal.
  • Many of us been in this Bar for over forty years and know the tradition of this Bar. We have learnt our traditions from our seniors and if there is an environment of discourtesy, distinguished Judges who reach the Bench also learn from there.
  • The request is that both you (the Bench) and I (the Bar) can maintain the sense of decorum.
  • Only requesting to allow the tradition to continue and allow dialogue to be courteous.
  • Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi: We only want that our point of view is conveyed and we are requesting with folded hands that the ambiance and environment is there.
  • Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave: You (Judges) can build the bar. We may be at fault sometimes. But request you to encourage the young members of the Bar and that will build the institution. Request you to please help all of us to rebuild the institution.
  • Singhvi: We are not speaking for an individual. We asked him (Gopal Sankaranarayanan), he said don’t mention anything on my behalf. But this is for the institution and it’s a cumulative request.
  • Justice MR Shah who is on the Bench with Justice Arun Mishra says, “But everything should be mutual. In this case, we don’t want to give an individual explanation.” Justice Shah is referring go the reported incident concerning Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan.
  • Justice MR Shah: We just want to inform you that we sent our people to call him (Gopal Sankararnarayan) for making submissions and he bluntly replied. Courtesy is required.
  • Sibal: this is not one incident, cumulative effect of an incident after incident. We as members of the Bar would never like to do this.
  • Dave: Presence of so many seniors should tell you that we feel some amount of correction is required
  • Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi: We have been here for 30-40 years. Lot of them are fearful… The fear is right or wrong we don’t know. But the fear is there it affects the members who assist us. We will come and go, judges will come and go but the cordiality should remain.
  • Tushar Mehta: I echo the sentiment of the Bar members. But I feel that whatever happened has not been reported correctly…
  • Justice Arun Mishra says that he didn’t intend to hurt any member of the Bar. “Everyday a number of cases is so much that under pressure if I uttered something, I never meant anything”
  • Justice Mishra: I’m always for an apology in case I have done anything wrong. I will apologize three hundred times. I offer “dandavat” apology
  • Sibal: That’s not required, we are not here for that, Your Lordship
  • Justice Mishra: Even to younger members, Gopal is half our age. Not only to him, those who are 20 years of age, in case I have hurt them anywhere, I offer an apology. Don’t have anything in your hearts and in case you have ever felt, I have no grudge against anybody.
  • Justice Mishra: There is a scope of some improvement also. The court is not being addressed properly these days…so many attacks are made that we can’t even think properly sometimes…That can also be avoided.
  • Justice Mishra says that he has been under attack by way of write-ups many times. “Sometimes it happens that we may also feel that how can we decide a case correctly.”
  • Justice Shah: Sometimes it happens in the spur of the moment.
  • Lawyers say they want to put a quietus to the issue. “Your Lordships have understood us and we have understood you. All’s well that ends well.”
  • Justice Mishra conveys his best wishes for Sr. Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan who was not present in the Court, says “he has a bright future”.
  • Justice Mishra (on Gopal Sankaranarayanan): We tried to console him, but he projected as if he wasn’t heard. We just told him to not argue certain points. When judges call, he must come. He was arguing very well.
  • The dialogue between the Members of the Bar and the Bench headed by Justice Mishra ends on a positive note.