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The subject of the devastation caused by Kerala floods came up for discussion in the Supreme Court today with CJI Dipak Misra remarking that Supreme Court judges are also making a contribution to the cause.
Interestingly, this discussion came up when the Court was deliberating on action to be taken against a petitioner for filing an application alleging a conflict of interest on the part of CJI Dipak Misra.
The case pertained to whether MPs and MLAs can practice as lawyers.
An intervenor in the matter, Bharatiya Matdata Sangatha had filed an application alleging that Senior Advocate Pinaki Misra, who is a cousin of CJI Dipak Misra is a practising lawyer as well as a Member of Parliament.
It was alleged in the written submissions that Pinaki Mishra has the power of voting on the impeachment of Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. Therefore, allowing him to practice as an Advocate in the Supreme Court and High Courts is a very serious conflict of interest.
The Supreme Court Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud took strong objection to the same.
The fact that the General Secretary of the organization who had taken the call to file the written submissions was a lawyer did not help the cause of the intervenor.
Attorney General KK Venugopal also suggested strong measures to be taken against the intervenor organization.
The General Secretary of the organization tendered a written apology admitting that it was a grave mistake on his part.
Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade suggested that fine should be imposed on the intervenor and the same should go towards legal aid.
Attorney General KK Venugopal then brought up the issue of Kerala floods and the devastation caused by the same.
“People have lost their houses. It will take years to rebuild the same. I would say let the fine go towards relief efforts“, said the AG.
CJI Dipak Misra then remarked that even “we (judges) are also making contributions” while agreeing to Attorney General’s proposal.
Naphade also concurred.
Justice DY Chandrachud was particularly stern on the intervenor saying,
“There is this trend of making allegations against judges. This has to stop. If you want to make allegations do so but we will deal with it. That message has to go out“, he said while strongly advocating the imposition of a substantial amount of fine on the intervenor.
The Court then asked the General Secretary of the intervenor organization to work out an amount and inform the Court of the same.
It also ordered him to file an affidavit setting out the details of the office bearers of the intervenor organization.
The matter will be heard next Monday.