SC Lawyers Back Bar Association Chief’s Plaint Against Quick Listing of Arnab Case

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It is deeply disturbing as to how and why every time Mr Goswami approaches the Supreme Court, his matter gets listed instantly, pointed out Dushyant Dave. — Photo: Social media

Dave on Tuesday dashed off a missive to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court  against ‘the extraordinary urgent listing’ of the special leave petition filed by Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India 

NEW DELHI — Supreme Court lawyers have given the thumbs-up to the concerns raised by the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Dushyant Dave, over the selective listing of the Arnab Goswami case for hearing while many other cases were hanging fire for a long time.

Dave on Tuesday dashed off a missive to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court  against ‘the extraordinary urgent listing’ of the special leave petition filed by Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami in connection with the 2018 case of alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer.

“I have nothing personal against Mr Goswami and I am not writing this letter to anyway interfere in his right to move the Supreme Court. Like all citizens, he also has a right to seek justice from the highest court. The serious issue here is selective listing of matters that the Registry under your leadership is indulging in for the last eight months during the Covid pandemic,” Dave wrote in his strongly-worded letter.

“While thousands of citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court are not getting listed for weeks and months, it is, to say the least, deeply disturbing as to how and why every time Mr Goswami approaches the Supreme Court, his matter gets listed instantly,” he pointed out.

Calling it a “gross misuse of administrative power”, Dave said even a respected senior advocate P. Chidambaram’s case did not get this special treatment and he had to remain in jail for a long period.

“It gives an impression that clients represented by certain lawyers are getting special treatment, which does not speak well of the great institution that the Supreme Court is,” averred the Bar Association chief.

Supreme Court lawyers said the concerns raised by Dave were valid and they hampered the justice system. Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhush also called it “gross abuse of administrative power”.

“When life & death matters like CAA, 370, Habeas Corpus, Electoral bonds, etc are not listed for months, Arnab Goswami’s petitions are listed in hours. Is he a Super Citizen? Gross abuse of admn power!,” tweeted Bhushan.

Talking to Clarion India, senior Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde said that these concerns were raised by Dave in his personal capacity as a president of the Bar Association but his concerns were valid.

“Mr. Dave has certainly raised valid concerns. The only way the Court can react is to post with urgency all cases where the advocates ask for urgent listing. All cases should be heard equally urgently. All cases of bail should be expeditiously listed. Otherwise, the charges of selectivity are likely to stick,” said Hegde.

He said this selective listing of case can affect the mechanism of a justice delivery system. “Any listing for one and no listing of the others results in a lot of parties questioning their advocates. If the advocates are weakened by not being able to list their matters, the court’s capacity as a justice delivery mechanism also gets weakened,” he said.

He also illustrated the case of selective listing by pointing to the adjournment of the case of Malayali journalist Siddique Kappan’s habeas corpus plea by the Supreme Court for four weeks. The journalist was not given any interim relief.

Another Supreme Court lawyer Anas Tanwir has also agreed with Dave in his concerns over the selective listing cases.

 “What Dave has said is true to a large extent. Amid the vacation, a matter is listed whose defects have not been removed. These allegations have been made time and again. There are so many people whose matters don’t get listed anywhere,” said Anwir.

He pointed to several matters which are not being listed for long, like the CAA matter, lynching cases of 2018 and habeas corpus cases in the Kashmir matter. “There is a need for course correction. There should be a uniform system. The uniformity is not there. It seems some lawyers do get special treatment. It’s definitely a hurdle in the way of justice. As the saying goes: ‘The justice must not just be done but also seem to be done’,” he said.

However, Goswami’s wife, Samyabrata Ray Goswami, denounced Dave’s letter terming it as a “malicious attempt to prejudice hearing” on the petition.

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