Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Kripashankar Singh invited the Supreme Court’s ire for having mentioned his plea against a corruption case before a different bench on Friday after getting the same withdrawn from the court’s mentioning list yesterday.
Terming Mr. Singh’s act as that of “bench-hunting,” a bench of justices D. K. Jain and A. R. Dave refused to grant any immediate relief to the Congress leader and even ticked off his counsel, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar for mentioning his plea before it after getting the same withdrawn yesterday.
“We are very sorry. We are very sorry, this cannot happen. This is nothing but bench hunting,” the bench told senior counsel Ranjit Kumar.
The apex court told the senior counsel that “such practice” was unacceptable and directed that the matter be posted for hearing on the date notified.
The apex court added that senior counsel like Ranjit Kumar have a duty towards the court as law officers to prevent such type of “bench hunting” efforts.
In judiciary, the bench hunting refers to a litigant’s bid to have his matter listed and heard by a bench, which one perceives to be favourable to oneself, albeit wrongly.
The apex court was irked as the matter was originally slated for mentioning on Thursday but was abruptly withdrawn and listed for fresh mentioning today.
The case against Mr. Singh and his family members was lodged on the Bombay High Court’s direction.
In effect, the apex court declined to put any interim stay on the Bombay High Court judgment as sought by Mr. Singh.
The senior Congress leader from Mumbai had moved the apex court after the Bombay High Court had ordered his prosecution and attachment of his immovable properties in a disproportionate assets case against him.