Rift in Supreme Court Bar Association to the fore; AG defuses ugly situation

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir and his companion judges created a flutter for a few minutes by staging a ‘walkout’ at the National Law Day function held here on Monday to mark the observance of the adoption of the Constitution on November 26, 1949.

Thanks to the intervention of Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, the ugly situation was defused. Mr. Vahanvati called all the judges to the dais and the delayed function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) went on without further interruption

Even as the CJI, the judges and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar assembled for the function, advocate K.C. Kaushik, former treasurer of SCBA who had been suspended, took the microphone and started making the introductory remarks much to the discomfiture of SCBA president P.H. Parekh.

The function was delayed for over 15 minutes as he refused to hand over the microphone to Mr. Parekh. The judges, who felt embarrassed, left the venue and started walking towards their car.

Mr. Vahanvati rushed to the CJI and other judges and called them back to the stage. The function continued with both the CJI and the Law Minister delivering their speeches, along with Mr. Parekh.

The CJI urged the lawyers to resolve differences in the SCBA in a democratic manner.

“The three wings of governance have their own place. But one thing the judiciary has is the power of review to ensure that all organs work effectively as per constitutional values. It is the duty and mandate of the Constitution to intervene when one organ is not doing its duty. That is not overreaching,” he said.

He urged the media to focus on the positive side of the function and ignore the fracas.

In his address, Mr. Ashwani Kumar said: “The Constitution has stood the test of time. It has ensured peaceful reconstruction and national renewal, cooperative federalism and inclusive development. It has served as an auxiliary precaution against transient impulses and has moderated the political discourse consistent with the non-negotiable constitutional imperatives.

“The United Progressive Alliance government remains committed to and pledges itself to secure the foundations of the rule of law and judicial independence — integral components of the non-negotiable basic structure of the Constitution. The promise of the Constitution in this regard cannot be fulfilled unless we can ensure affordable and speedy justice to all our citizens in larger freedom.”

More In: National | News