Contempt threat by Justice Mishra draws flak from SC Bar Association
New Delhi: After Justice Arun Mishra on Tuesday threatened senior Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan with contempt proceedings during the hearing in the Indore Development Authority case, several senior members of the Supreme Court Bar came out with strong criticism of such action from Justice Mishra.
The Supreme Court Advocates-On-Record Association (SCAORA) released a statement on Wednesday announcing a resoltuion of its Executive Committe (EC), that expressed "deep concern over the threat of Contempt proceedings and conviction by Honourable Justice Arun Mishra to Gopal Sankaranarayanan, while he was performing his professional duties".
The EC went on to say that several members of the Bar have repeatedly been raising a similar grievance about the "unwanted treatment and passing of personal remarks" by Justice Mishra. On Tuesday, while a five-judge bench was hearing the Indore Development Authority case, Justice Mishra had taken offence after he observed that Sankaranarayanan was repeating arguments. After several such instances, Justice Mishra had said: "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." Notably, Sankaranarayanan had in October argued for Justice Mishra's recusal in the case, before it was referred to the five-judge bench which included him. The SCAORA EC also noted that the duty to maintain dignity and decorum of the Court is cast upon both lawyers and Judges and requested Justice Mishra to be a "little more patient in dealing with lawyers".
After the SCAORA resolution became public, Vikas Singh, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association wrote to the current President, seeking that he convene the Executive Committe of the Bar and pass a resolution seeking an apology from Justice Mishra with respect to the threat of contempt proceedings.
Singh, who is also a former Additional Solicitor-General, also asked that if the apology is not issued, the EC should pass a resolution to mark their protest by refusing to stand up when Justice Mishra enters the courtroom.
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