You shall not shout me down. Listen when a judge speaks to you: Justice Chandrachud

Lawyers trade charges as tempers flare during Loya case hearing; Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar quietly watch the face-off from the Bench

February 05, 2018 07:29 pm | Updated February 06, 2018 01:56 am IST - NEW DELHI

 A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

Tempers flared in the Supreme Court on Monday, leading a furious Justice D.Y. Chandrachud to lash out at senior advocate Dushyant Dave, saying, “You shall not shout me down. You shall listen when a judge speaks to you.”

The court was hearing PIL petitioners seeking an independent probe into the death of CBI court judge B.H. Loya. Things took an ugly turn when the petitioners started trading charges against each other.

At one point, Justice Chandrachud compared the verbal exchanges between the quarrelling lawyers as worse than ones heard in a “fish market.”

‘Truth shut down’

Mr. Dave, for the Bombay Lawyers Association, had said “voices of truth” were being shut down in the high-voltage hearing of the PILs at the Chief Justice’s courtroom.

“I will not listen to you,” Mr. Dave told Justice Chandrachud. “Then we will also not listen to you, Mr. Dave,” Justice Chandrachud shot back. Mr. Dave said the judges hearing the Loya PILs should act according to their conscience.

He said the Bar Council of India wants to take away his right to practise. “There is a genuine apprehension justice will not be done in this case,” he said.

To this, Justice Chandrachud replied, “Rest assured we will examine every aspect of this case. Please do not tell us how to look into our conscience.”

Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar quietly watched the face-off from the Bench.

Senior advocate Pallav Sisodia, appearing for PIL petitioner and Mumbai journalist B.H. Lone, began by terming allegations levelled in the Loya case as “outlandish and based on hearsay evidence.”

He said the Loya PILs had led to a “tide of insinuations, questions on judicial integrity and one eminent press conference” on January 12. He was referring to the unprecedented press meet by four Supreme Court judges.

Immediately, Mr. Dave accused Mr. Sisodia of trying to sabotage the case. Mr. Dave’s client had first approached the Bombay High Court. Mr. Dave said he was compelled to transfer the case here when the apex court admitted the PILs filed by Mr. Lone and activist Tehseen Poonawala.

A bristling Mr. Sisodia turned to Mr. Dave and said, “We do not care what you think. You can go to hell or heaven or anywhere.” Justice Chandrachud stepped in at this juncture by pointing to the two portraits of former Chief Justices of India — the apex court’s first one, Justice Harilal J. Kania and its fourth, Justice B.K. Mukherjea — hanging on either walls of the courtroom. “Not when they are watching us,” Justice Chandrachud cautioned the lawyers.

Justice Chandrachud took exception to Mr. Sisodia’s “unparliamentary” choice of words.“Courtesy begets courtesy, Mr. Sisodia,” Justice Chandrachud addressed the lawyer, who apologised.

“We had appeared as juniors in this court. We have never seen the dialogue degenerate to such an extent. This is oppressive,” Justice Chandrachud said.

“I will tell Your Lordship what is oppressive. What is oppressive is Salve [senior advocate Harish Salve] appearing for Maharashtra government when he had appeared for Amit Shah earlier. Why is he trying to protect Amit Shah?” Mr. Dave said.

“Amit Shah is capable of protecting himself,” Mr. Sisodia said. In a veiled reference to Mr. Dave, Mr. Salve chipped in to address Justice Chandrachud with, “Sometimes courtesy does not beget courtesy, My Lord.”

Earlier, senior advocate V. Giri, for Poonawala, argued that the State Intelligence department probe into Loya's death was just an “armchair enquiry” and the apex court should order a fresh probe.

The arguments will continue on February 9.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.