The Supreme Court Bar Association has expressed objections to the comments passed by Bar Council of India Chariman, Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, against the SC lawyers body in the context of Justice Arun Mishra- Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan episode.
The BCI Chairman had come out in support of Justice Arun Mishra by disapproving the criticisms leveled by lawyers against the conduct of the judge.
A press release issued by the SCBA on Friday in response to the Chairman’s comments said :
“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”.
The press release highlighted that the BCI Chairman had wrongly attributed the resolution passed by the SCAORA to the SCBA.
The SCBA demanded that the BCI withdraws its mischievous comments against it, and observed 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…”
The SCBA added that the issue between the judge and the senior lawyer has been “put to rest” with the unconditional apology expressed by Justice Arun Mishra, following submissions made a battery of senior advocates on Thursday morning.
“Since, the Hon’ble Judge has shown magnanimity, the issue is put to rest”, the SCBA said.
On Tuesday, Justice Arun Mishra told Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan that his arguments in the case concerning interpretation of Section 24 of the RFCTLARR Act were repetitive and threatened him with contempt if he persisted with the submissions.
“You are making a mockery of the justice delivery system! We are hearing patiently. And You are commenting on every query? Retorting on every query? If you make one more retort and I will take contempt against you and make sure it is seen through!…Now If you have any new points, you may only make them!”, Justice Mishra told the Senior Advocate.
At this point, Mr. Sankaranarayanan excused himself from the hearing and left the Court room.
At the start, Justice Mishra had also expressed displeasure at the advocate addressing the bench as “you”.
Mr. Sankaranarayanan was one of the lawyers who had in October Justice Mishra’s recusal from the matter, the judge having earlier rendered the Indore Development Authority decision which is under reconsideration before this 5 judge bench.
The SCAORA expressed deep concern over the incident of Justice Mishra targeting Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and passed a resolution stating,
“Several members of the bar have repeatedly been raising such grievance about the unwarranted treatment and passing personal remarks by Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra.
We request Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra to be little more patient in dealing with lawyers.”
Following this, the Chairman of Bar Council of India, Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra issued a statement disapproving the resolution and stating that the judge was being targeted by a few members of the bar.