New Delhi: Senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaising and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, on Thursday came in the line of fire of the Supreme Court which questioned their conduct for casting aspersions on judicial officers and judges including of the apex court who were seized of matters relating to the death of Special CBI judge BH Loya.
The apex court also lashed out at a junior of senior lawyer V Giri and petitioners including NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) for casting "unfounded aspersions" on the judges of the Bombay High Court and said it was a "serious attempt to scandalise the court and obstruct the course of justice".
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the attempt of the petitioners was to create prejudice and to malign the dignity of the judges, particularly Justice BR Gavai of the Bombay High Court.
The bench, which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, rapped Dave, Jaising and Bhushan for making serious attacks against the judiciary during the hearing.
Regarding CPIL, the court said "Facts have emerged from the record which indicate that a carefully orchestrated attempt has been made during the course of these hearings on behalf of the CPIL to create evidence to cast a doubt on the circumstances leading to the death of judge Loya".
Immediately after the verdict, an attempt was made by PTI to elicit the reaction of Jaising in the apex court corridor but she refused to make any comment. PTI also tried to reach Dave but he did not respond to the calls. It was only Bhushan who reacted.
An anguished apex court said the counsel are expected to assist the court with a sense of objectivity in aid of justice but Bhushan "adopted a dual mantle", assuming the character of a counsel for the intervenor and an individual who was personally interested on behalf of the intervening organisation of which he was a member.
"He has gone to the length of personally collecting evidence to somehow bolster the case," the bench observed.
The court also noted that Jaising too has "joined the fray" by requesting the court to issue contempt notices to the Administrative Committee of the Bombay High Court.
The top court also took strong note of Dave's plea to bring on record the order of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court to allege that one of the two judges, who had given statement in the Judge Loya's death case, had ordered settlement of a criminal case against Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2014.
"Dave has gone to the extent of insinuating that one individual is controlling the entire judiciary in Maharashtra and elsewhere," the bench said.
It also said the petitioners cannot assert as of right that they should be allowed to cross-examine a host of persons including the doctors and judicial officers.
"By casting unfounded aspersions on the judicial officers who had accompanied Judge Loya, the petitioners have revealed the real motive of these proceedings which is to bring the judiciary into disrepute on the basis of scurrilous allegations.
"We find no basis or justification to allow the request for cross-examination. The application shall accordingly stand rejected," the bench said, adding that the discretion was vested in the court to order cross-examination.
"A party to a proceeding before this court -particularly a proceeding under Article 32 - cannot demand as of right the production of a person, who has filed an affidavit, for cross-examination. Whether cross-examination should be allowed has to be determined by the court having regard to the interests of justice," the bench said.
It said "what is worse is the manner in which wholly unfounded aspersions have been cast on the judges of the Bombay High Court following a decision which has been taken in the judicial capacity. This constitutes a serious attempt to scandalise the court and obstruct the course of justice".
Updated Date: Apr 19, 2018 22:54 PM