Advocate alleges ‘impropriety’ by SC bench in cases involving adani Group
Senior advocate in the Supreme Court of India, Dushyant Dave, on Friday, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and other judges of the top court, alleging “procedural impropriety” by a bench of Supreme Court in hearing two cases involving the Adani Group during the court’s summer vacation in May and June.
In his letter to the judges, Dave pointed out that two cases in which Adani Group was a party were listed before a bench of justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah, “without the matter having being ordered to be heard during the summer vacation by any regular bench and without their being any urgency in the matter what so ever.”
Both cased dealt with commercial disputes.
Dave alleges that on April 9, 2019 a list of cases to be heard during summer vacation was published by the Supreme Court registry and that surprisingly listed one of the two cases, despite an earlier order by the Registrar that said the case of Parsa Kenta Collieries Ltd versus Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd “was not ready for hearing”.
The case pertained to a dispute on a coal mining agreement between Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Nigam Ltd and its joint venture partner Parsa Kenta Collieries Ltd, which is a part of Adani Group.
Dave says in letter that the case was listed without seeking the consent of the advocates and a judgment was passed in case on May 29, 2019.
The other case highlighted by Dave was of Adani Power (Mundra) versus Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission and others.
This case, Dave says was last heard in 2017 and, subsequently, never taken up for hearing.
Dave said an urgent mention was made for listing the matter during the vacation, which was allowed by the bench of justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah.
He claimed in his letter that the court heard the case despite resistance by advocates. The judgement in that case has been reserved, he added.
“I am told that the total benefit to this corporate client from these two judgments will run into thousands of crores. As a result besides causing grave injury to public interest and public revenue it has caused immense damage to the image of Supreme Court of India,” Dave alleged.
A spokesperson for the Adani group said the insinuations were totally unwarranted.
“It is unfortunate that misconceived and malicious statements against the honourable apex court and our company are made on the listing procedure without proper verification,” the spokesperson added in an e-mail.
“The arbitration matter was in the list of vacation matters and came for hearing in normal course. It was as per the procedure prescribed for listing in vacation. It was prescribed that arbitration matters which require to be adjudicated expeditiously can be listed with consent of parties to the case- which was done. Mr Dave had in this matter himself appeared for us before the Rajasthan high court,” the spokesperson explained.
To be sure, Dave disclosed in his letter that he appeared for Adani.
The spokesperson said that the second case was “listed pursuant to application for urgent hearing after due notice to the opposite side’s advocates”.
“The insinuations made regarding other matters of Adani group are wholly unwarranted.”
Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah could not be reached for comment.
Interestingly, Dave started his letter by pointing out that Justice Gogoi was one of the four senior Supreme Court judges who held an unprecedented press conference in January 2018, in which they raised concerns over the way in which important cases with “far reaching consequences for the nation and the institution” were being selectively assigned by the then CJI to benches of their preference.
Dave goes on to say, that “unfortunately, far from improved administration in the Supreme Court situation has worsened. Cases having far reaching consequences for the nation and the institution and cases involving political overtones have been systematically assigned to the benched of “preference” without any rationale basis for such assignment.”
It was not clear if the letter has reached the judges as, Secretary General of the Supreme Court, Sanjeev Kalgaonkar said,“When letters are written to the Chief Justice of India and other judges they reach the offices of the judges directly.”
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