CJI warns SCBA chief during heated exchange in top court | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

CJI warns SCBA chief during heated exchange in top court

Mar 03, 2023 01:17 AM IST

The incident prompted senior lawyers of the Bar to later apologise to the court for “transgressing the limits of decorum”

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh had a heated exchange of words on Thursday after the latter urged the court to urgently list a petition to convert 1.33 acres of land, allotted to the apex court, into chamber blocks for lawyers.

Chief justice of India justice DY Chandrachud. (PTI)
Chief justice of India justice DY Chandrachud. (PTI)

The incident prompted senior lawyers of the Bar to later apologise to the court for “transgressing the limits of decorum”.

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On Thursday morning, Singh sought an immediate listing of the matter, contending that it has not been heard for the last six months. The matter got heated with the SCBA president saying that lawyers could be compelled to reach the CJI’s residence with their demands.

The CJI, who started his address to the Bar leader calmly, said sternly: “Don’t threaten the chief justice… Is this the way to behave? Please sit down. I will not list it like this. Please leave my court… I will not be cowered down by you.”

Singh persisted, saying lawyers had been waiting for 20 years to be allotted chambers, prompting the CJI to say: “Mr Vikas Singh, please don’t raise your voice. As the president of the SCBA, you should be a mentor or a leader to the Bar.”

Further admonishing the senior counsel, the CJI said, “We will deal with the matter when it comes. Please don’t twist our arm to give you the relief which you want. I have announced my verdict. It’s on March 17 and it will not be listed on serial number 1.”

However, senior counsel Singh continued to voice his grievance, further remarking, “If your lordships feel that it (the petition) should be dismissed, then please dismiss it.”

The CJI shot back, “Will you give me an opportunity to say something? I am the chief justice of this court. I have been here since March 29, 2000. I have been long enough in this profession for 22 years. I have never allowed myself to be browbeaten by the members of the bar, by a litigant, or by anyone else and I will not do that in the final two years of my career.”

The exchange continued, with Singh saying that “if the Bar is cooperating with the court, it does not mean that the Bar should be taken for a ride.”

Justice PS Narasimha, who was also on the bench, intervened and asked Singh to put things to an end.

Later, senior advocates, including Kapil Sibal and Neeraj Kishan Kaul, on behalf of the Bar, apologised for Singh’s behaviour and said that the bar should transgress the limits of decorum.

“I am sorry for what happened this morning. I don’t think that Bar should transgress the limits of decorum. We all apologise,” Sibal said, while appearing in another matter.

Kaul said, “We all jointly apologise... We feel equally anguished and hurt by what happened.”

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