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The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has issued a statement registering strong objection to unwarranted, mischievous and politically loaded remarks made by the Bar Council of India (BCI) in criticising the SCBA when it came out in support of Justice Arun Mishra’s courtroom conduct in a press release issued on Wednesday.
The press release had condemned public criticism registered by the Supreme Court Bar over reports that Justice Arun Mishra had issued contempt threats against Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan amidst arguments in the Land acquisition cases on Tuesday. Tuesday’s altercation had resulted in Gopal Sankaranarayanan walking out of the courtroom after Justice Mishra, who is heading the Constitution Bench hearing the land acquisition matters, threatened the lawyer with contempt.
As far as Tuesday’s episode is concerned, the SCBA has also agreed that the controversy should be put to rest in view of the “unconditional apology” tendered by Justice Mishra on Thursday after various senior lawyers raised general concerns regarding courtroom relations in the morning. In this regard the SCBA statement states,
“Since, the Hon’ble Judge has shown magnanimity, the issue is put to rest.”
However, the focus has now shifted to a BCI press release, signed off by its Chairman and Co-Chairman, wherein it was remarked, inter alia, that the functioning of the SCBA during the past two terms had been “disappointing.” The press release had proceeded to urge voters to “keep everything in mind” while casting their votes in the upcoming SCBA elections on December 12.
Responding to these critical remarks, the SCBA has now issued a statement, signed off by its Acting Secretary, Preeti Singh. It states,
“The derisive tone and tenor of the Press Release qua the Supreme Court Bar Association and its Executive Committee is unwarranted and the facts stated are incorrect and far from the truth. The Executive Committee condemns the same in the strongest words possible. The Executive Committee of the SCBA not only takes a strong objection to it but also deplores the Bar Council of India for interfering with the functioning of the Supreme Court Bar Association Executive Committee. The statements made by the signatories of the aforesaid Press Release pertaining to the functioning and dignity of the members of our Bar as well as the members of the Executive Committee are not only vague and incorrect but are also highly unbecoming of the statuary authority.”
It goes on to demand that the BCI withdraws its mischievous comments against the SCBA, apart from observing that such conduct is unbecoming of the office of BCI.
“…passing sarcastic insinuations and making incorrect remarks against the present Executive Committee is condemned in the strongest possible words as the same are mischievous and have been made with oblique purposes. It is not just for the occupants of the offices of the Chairman and Co-Chariman of the Bar Council of India to cast such reckless aspersions upon the members of the Supreme Court Bar Association in general and the Executive Committee…without any basis or facts. The statutory authorities should act with the utmost care, caution and responsibility in propagating a statement.
… The office-bearers of the statutory body must refrain themselves from issuing such statements with politically loaded motives, which this press release has intended to do. The Executive Committee strongly condemns the press release dated 04.12.2019 issued by the Bar Council of India…and requires them to immediately issue a clarificatory statement and also to withdraw its unwarranted remarks and sarcastic insinuations…”
All the same, the SCBA has also deprecated the conduct of some members who are said to have attempted to politicise the controversy for electoral gains in the upcoming elections.
“That said, the Executive Committee has however observed that some of the contesting candidates/members of the Supreme Court Bar Association have attempted to politicise this issue for their own electoral benefits. Such acts are solemnly deprecated and the contesting candidates/colleagues are advised to refrain from such practices.”
[Read the SCBA statement]