Riled over ‘judicial impropriety’, SC raps lawyers for ‘playing fraud’
A Supreme Court bench of justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha took strong exception on Friday to a co-ordinate bench overruling its order for the demolition of an apartment complex constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in Kochi.
The judges were upset when they were told that during the summer break another bench of two judges allowed the complex relief against a demolition order. While Justice Mishra and Sinha had allowed the demolition of the complex on May 8, which was reiterated on May 21, the other bench protected them from the demolition on June 10.
“We have serious objection about this...this cannot be allowed to happen...Heights of judicial impropriety...That bench should not have passed any order. We are saying this with full responsibility” the judges said, rebuking the petitioners and their counsel for suppressing facts to secure the relief. They fumed as soon as senior advocate Kalyan Banerjee got up to argue the case.
Justice Mishra recalled the sequence of events and said the petitioners went to another bench with the same relief, even as it was rejected by the one headed by him. “You went to another bench and suppressed facts to get a different order,” he said.
The judge did not even spare Banerjee and said: “You are a senior counsel. You are an MP. If we say something against you, it will appear in papers”. The lawyer claimed ignorance about the developments in the past. But this did not stop Justice Mishra.
“You may not be aware. But some other senior counsel was appearing earlier. They are changing counsel for every hearing because they know what fraud was played on court. They think they can escape by doing so,” the judge lashed out, accusing the lawyers of being “part of the fraud.”
“Is there no ethics left? Is money all that matters for you? Senior counsel should refuse to appear in such matters”, the judge continued. He said that this was not happening in just one case but in many. “Some government officials also think they can play with the Supreme Court. I will punish them, you are playing fraud with the Supreme Court,” he said.