Lawyers' conduct in Ramjanambhoomi hearing shameful, says CJI

New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday lamented the conduct of certain senior lawyers during the hearing in the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case in the Supreme Court, dubbing it "shameful".

Senior lawyers Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushant Dave had threatened to leave on Tuesday after the apex court asked senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan to commence arguments in the Ayodhya case.

"What happened yesterday (Wednesday) was shameful. What happened day before yesterday (Tuesday) was extremely shameful," said Chief Justice Misra, who heads the Constitution Bench.

"Unfortunately, a small group of lawyers think they can raise their voice. We make it clear that raising of voice will not be tolerated. Raising of voice only shows your (lawyers) inadequacy and incompetence," he said.

Reminding the Bar of its traditions, he said: "It is not the tradition of the Bar. If the Bar does not regulate itself, we will compel it to regulate itself." 

Sibal, Dhavan and Dave had sought deferment of the Ramjanambhoomi case hearing till after the 2019 general elections but the Supreme Court had asked Vaidyanathan -- appearing for deity Ramlala -- to commence arguments. The case was later deferred to February 8.

Recording the incident during the hearing of Ayodhya matter on December 5 when Sibal, Dhavan and Dave had sought the leave of the court to recuse themselves from proceedings with arguments, the court in its Tuesday's order had described it "shocking and surprising".

"We declined the said permission and we must say, that they accepted. If we permit ourselves to say so, the submission was shocking and surprising and when we proceeded to record so, prayer was made not to do so and we, accepting the fervent request made by the counsel, refrain from recording so," the court had said in its December 5 order on Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid disputed site title suit hearing.

On Wednesday, the Chief Justice took exception to Dhavan telling the constitution bench that they have narrowed down the scope of the hearing by limiting it to proviso 4 of the Article 239AA - spelling special powers for Delhi, a view not supported by other lawyers appearing for the Delhi government.

Apparently displeased over the submission, the Chief Justice said: "This is unfair, uncalled for and unwarranted argument. You can't say something and attribute it to us."

At this juncture, the bench decided to rise with court ushers moving in to escort the judges. But then hearing resumed.

At the end of the hearing, Dhavan, in his concluding remarks, told the court that he would not mind any judgment in a case of the tussle between the Central and the Delhi governments on the powers to administer Delhi, which was objected to by senior counsel Indira Jaising.

The Chief Justice appreciated Jaising for telling Dhavan that he can't be presumptive about the judgment.

The Chief Justice's remarks on Thursday came on the commencement of hearing in the case when senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, in order to express the legal fraternity's concerns, said they too were "conservative" in practicing the Bar's traditions and upholding the court's majesty.



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