NEW DELHI: Referring to wild allegations against CJI Dipak Misra, a Supreme Court bench on Monday said a new trend of judge-bashing was gaining currency in constitutional courts and vowed to deal with this phenomenon with an iron hand.
With attorney general K K Venugopal terming written submissions by Vimal Wadhwan, general secretary of Bharatiya Matdata Sangathan, in the case relating to law practice by advocate-legislators as highly contemptuous, a bench of CJI Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said, “Wild allegations will lead to a catastrophe.”
When the bench wanted to fix responsibility on the advocate-on-record who filed the written submissions containing the “wild allegations”, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade pointed out a serious procedural flaw that had become routine in the apex court. “Going by the experience in the Supreme Court, so many times, advocates-on-record are not aware of the contents of what is being filed,” he said.
With Wadhwan admitting his mistake and seeking pardon with folded hands, the bench remembered the AG’s Rs 1 crore contribution for relief and rehabilitation in flood-devastated Kerala and asked the contemnor what his contribution would be to the cause.
Naphade put it at 50,000 while the AG said it should be 5 lakh even as the contemnor agreed to deposit Rs 1 lakh in the Kerala Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Justice Chandrachud said, “5 lakh may not be the upper limit. It is a trend to target judges these days. It gives us no joy to punish anyone for contempt. But we want to sternly deal with this trend.”
CJI Misra lauded the AG for his contribution to the Kerala relief fund. The AG said, “The contemnor should be asked to go to Kerala and physically contribute in relief and rehabilitation work.” Sources said each SC judge would contribute 25,000 for Kerala relief operations.
At the beginning of the hearing, Wadhwan said he had realised his mistake and wanted to tender an unconditional apology. The bench asked whether the decision to file such written submissions in the PIL by Ashwini Upadhaya, who has sought a ban on law practice by lawyer-legislators, was backed by a resolution passed by the managing committee of the NGO.
The SC posted the matter for further hearing on August 27.