SCBA president writes to CJI, expresses shock over open letter by senior Bar member

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Adish C Aggarwala Thursday wrote to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud expressing “shock” at an open letter to the head of the judiciary by a senior member of the bar.

Aggarwala’s letter came a day after senior advocate Dushyant Dave wrote an open letter to the CJI expressing anguish over “certain happenings” in the listing of cases and their reallocation to other benches in the Supreme Court and sought immediate corrective measures.

A day before Dave’s letter, Supreme Court judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul had on Tuesday expressed surprise when some lawyers, including Prashant Bhushan, alleged sudden deletion from court number two’s cause list the pleas related to the Centre’s alleged delay in acting on the collegium’s recommendations on elevation and transfer of high court judges.

In his letter, senior advocate Aggarwala requested Justice Chandrachud to ignore “such malicious, motivated and dubious attempts” that are nothing but “self-serving attacks on the independence of the judiciary”.

“If the Chief Justice of India succumbs to such pressure tactics, it would sound a death knell to the independence of this great institution at the hands of certain vested interests,” he said.

Aggarwala said, of late, a growing tendency has emerged of writing such letters to sitting CJIs to “exert undue pressure” on the administration of justice. Such letters, he said, were written demonstratively with respect to a few selected cases and at the behest of some influential litigants.

“To my utter shock, I have received a public letter which is stated to be ‘an open letter’ to your lordship by a senior member of the Bar,” Aggarwala said.

He said “undignified behavior” with judges by some counsel a few days before their retirement has become a common phenomenon and is aimed at attracting publicity and creating an element of uneasiness among the judges.

“Owing to this misbehaviour by some senior counsel, the Bar suffers disgrace and the harmony between the Bar and the Bench gets disturbed. The ill behaving lawyers still stand to benefit because they attract clients who want to put pressure on the courts to decide cases in a certain manner,” he said.

Aggarwala said the administration cannot waste its precious time entertaining every letter making wild and imaginary accusations.

He said assignment of cases was not open to question on the judicial or the administrative side and, as a corollary, it is neither required to be by way of a speaking order nor is it required to be justified by responding to any person calling it into question.

“The writing of such letters is therefore malicious, and calculated to embarrass the administration. The time has come where one should put an end to the practice of writing of such letters,” he said.

“It is essential to curb every attempt to scandalise the court mechanisms with insinuations and falsehood, aimed at mischievously shaking the confidence of the public in our courts,” Aggarwala said.

He said the Bar has full faith and reposes full confidence in the neutrality and unprecedented administrative skill of the CJI and other judges of the apex court.

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“After your lordship took over as Chief Justice of India, all administrative issues have been streamlined right from mentioning of matters, listing of cases and other issues concerning the registry,” he said.

“While heading one of the three organs of the State, the Chief Justice of India is bound to encounter some detractors who could be canvassing for disgruntled litigants who couldn’t secure the relief they desired,” the letter said.

In his letter to the CJI, Dave, a former SCBA president, had said he was deeply anguished at certain happenings about the listing of cases by the apex court registry.

He had added that some cases were sensitive in nature involving “human rights, freedom of speech, democracy, and functioning of statutory and constitutional institutions”.

Dave had expressed regret that he had to write the open letter as efforts by some lawyers to meet the CJI personally did not yield any result.

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