“Few members targeting the judge”, BCI comes out in support of Justice Arun Mishra in contempt controversy

“Few members targeting the judge”, BCI comes out in support of Justice Arun Mishra in contempt controversy

Bar & Bench

A statement has been issued by the Bar Council of India (BCI) in support of Justice Arun Mishra after his threats to initiate contempt action against Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan drew criticism from certain quarters of the Supreme Court Bar.

On Wednesday the SCAORA had passed a resolution expressing concern over the incident, while Former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Senior Advocate Vikas Singh urged the SCBA to condemn Justice Mishra’s outburst.

Responding to these developments, the statement signed off by Chairman of the BCI, Manan Kumar Mishra and Co-Chairman S Prabakaran states,

A few members have been targeting the particular Judge (Justice Arun Mishra), frequently criticising his every action/order. How far we are correct and justified? Who will control the Bar? Only you, the Supreme Court Bar Association and Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association! None else! Your tenure as the officer-bearer or a member of Executive Committee will be only for one year; but your deeds will be echoing its good or bad effects for several years in future. You are to draw the road map and show it the youngsters at the Bar.”

As far as Vikas Singh’s letter is concerned, it has been stated in the BCI release,

In my opinion when the Executive Committee had already taken up the issue, there was no need to publicise such letter … We hope and trust that he (Vikas Singh) will rethink and will not do anything which could lay a bad precedent for future. Moreover, he is a candidate in the elections also. From that point of view too, it is not advisable to make such proposals.”

Issue ought to have been resolved in dignified, tactful manner

Criticising the passage of public statements and resolutions over the incident, the BCI office-bearers have highlighted that the issue ought to have been resolved in a more decenttactful manner so as to also not confer any personal gain or undue advantage in the upcoming SCBA elections. On this aspect, it is also stated,

“There were/are many decent ways to resolve such issues. Instead of going in public and making it an issue, the responsible officer-bearers of Supreme Court Bar Assoiation could have met the Honble Judge in is chamber and expressed their views. Even Hon’ble Chief Justice of India could have been requested to mediate… Our few hasty resolutions have far-reaching effects, therefore, these extreme steps should not have been taken without exhausting the other dignified remembers available to the Bar and its leaders.

Handful of lawyers frequently misbehaving

The BCI goes on to allude to larger issues concerning “frequent misbehaviour” by a handful of lawyers for ulterior purposes. In this regard, it is stated,

For last 3-4 years, all of us are noticing the frequent misbehaviour and misconduct of a handful of Advocates and also of a few Senior Advocates in the Courts. We are reminded of the days of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipal Misra and Mr. Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the two former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court; How and upto what extent 2-3 members of the Bar went on to harass and torture them for ulterior purposes. It was all plotted, planned  …

Everyone use to criticise these Advocates in corridors, but neither Supreme Court Bar Association no Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association ever came forward to get such misconducts stopped. It was the duty of the Supreme Court Bar Association to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Court and to stop the such lawyers from creating frequent nuisances in court rooms and from unnecessary criticising and targeting any particular Judge.

Hope that next SCBA Executive Committee will be more honest, diligent and responsible

The letter signs off while on a critical note on the functioning of the SCBA Executive Committee, expressing disappointment that, “Our experience for past two consecutive terms has been very bad.” The BCI Chairmen proceed to urge voters to choose their next SCBA members keeping “everything in mind.”

We are also voters, and we appeal to our colleagues in Supreme Court Bar Association to ensure an effective Executive Committee and deserving officer-bearers this time. The way we see the messages on social media about some of the office-bearers and members of the Committee is really horrible. Before voting, we, the common lawyers, are to keep everything in mind.

The controversy emanates from a heated exchange that took place between Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Justice Arun Mishra during Tuesday’s hearing in the land acquisition cases.

[Read the BCI Press Release]

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