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Courtroom 8 of the Supreme Court was privy to a strange episode yesterday morning. Justice Indira Banerjee, who has been hearing a case pertaining to Hotel Royal Plaza, revealed in open court about an attempt to influence her in the case.
She said that any attempt to influence the Court will be viewed seriously, while hinting that somebody had telephoned her for the same.
However, there was no clarity on whether who made the telephone call.
Justice Arun Mishra, who is sitting on the Bench along with Justice Indira Banerjee, then weighed in, stating that this amounts to contempt of court. He said that after the episode happened, Justice Banerjee has been asking him whether she should continue hearing the case.
He also said that when a judge is in the High Court, nobody dares to approach him or her but as soon as a judge comes to the Supreme Court, people start spreading rumours. He also said that judges have been dealing with such attempts for some time now.
Justice Banerjee said that such attempts are sometimes made even by senior members at the Bar who come on the pretext of congratulating a judge and then start talking about pending matters. She said that she immediately dissuades such persons from talking about pending cases.
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, who is one of the lawyers appearing in the case, requested Banerjee J. not to recuse from the matter, else it could be used as a means to get judges to recuse from cases.
The hearing in the case then continued before the Court reserved its judgment.
Justice Indira Banerjee is one of the three recent appointments to the Supreme Court along with Justices Vineet Saran and KM Joseph.