NEW DELHI: Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has written to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud voicing concerns about a recent open letter from a senior lawyer to the CJI over the listing of sensitive cases pending before the Supreme Court and said this was an attempt to create “undue influence” and get “favourable” decisions.
On December 6, senior advocate Dushyant Dave wrote an open letter addressed to the CJI, expressing anguish over “certain happenings” related to the listing of cases and their reallocation to other benches of the apex court and sought immediate corrective measures. Without naming Dave, the BCI chairman said attempts made through such letters clearly amount to contemptuous conduct and a mischief perpetrated to further ulterior motives and must be tackled with iron hands.
“The letter in question is not an isolated incident, rather is a classic ploy from the handbook which has been tried time and again before almost every Chief Justice of India in the recent past. Such letters are an extra-judicial mechanism of creating undue influence and pressure in the functioning of the independent judicial system….
“The claims made in the letter are in order to attract cheap publicity without an iota of truth and is completely devoid of any bona-fide purpose,” Mishra wrote in his letter to the CJI. He alleged that the purpose behind such letters is to put pressure on the judiciary for getting “favourable decisions for their influential clients and interests. Such letters have now become a regular feature almost to the point of staleness and must, therefore, be summarily rejected by Your Lordships”.
“It is our belief that such letters represent no part of the common members of the Bar practising before the courts and the entire Bar stands firmly behind the leadership and the direction of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India. The tireless efforts of our Chief Justice of India today towards access to justice, towards protecting the interest of young and common advocates and towards rationalising the administration of justice have already started yielding the result,” he wrote.
Mishra requested the CJI to stamp out the “nuisance” that these letters seek to create and set a lasting precedent against such attempts. “The council stands firmly with Your Lordships and requests Your Lordship and the judiciary to stand in one voice against such attempts, which have clearly been made with ulterior motives. Unity is strength and, therefore, on behalf of the entire legal fraternity, the Bar Council expresses its full support to our dynamic, most deserving/competent, bold and impartial Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Dr D Y Chandrachud. The Bar fully stands with our beloved Chief Justice of India,” he said.
A day before Dave’s letter, Supreme Court judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul had expressed surprise when some lawyers, including Prashant Bhushan, alleged a sudden deletion from court number two’s cause list pleas related to the Centre’s alleged delay in acting on the collegium’s recommendations on elevation and transfer of high court judges.
In his letter to the CJI, Dave, a former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president, had said he was deeply anguished at certain happenings related to the listing of cases by the apex court registry. He had added that some cases were sensitive in nature involving “human rights, freedom of speech, democracy and the functioning of statutory and constitutional institutions”.
Dave had expressed regret that he had to write the open letter as the efforts of some lawyers to meet the CJI personally did not yield any result.