Senior Advocate and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Dushyant Dave has written a strongly worded letter to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court questioning the manner in which Republic TV Editor, Arnab Goswami’s bail plea was listed the very next day after it was filed.
Dave has lodged a “strong protest” with the Secretary General pointing out that Goswami’s petitions before the top court are listed urgently while other similarly placed litigants are kept waiting.
Terming the subject of his letter as the “extraordinary urgent listing of the Special Leave Petition filed on behalf of Arnab Goswami,” Dave has questioned whether there was a special direction from the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde himself to list petitions by the journalist urgently.
“While thousands of citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters before the Supreme Court are not getting listed for weeks and months, it is, to say the least, deeply disturbing, how and why every time Mr. Goswami approaches the Supreme Court, his matter gets listed instantly. Is there any special Order or Direction from Honble the Chief Justice of India and the Master of the Roaster in this regard ?” Dave has asked.
Goswami had approached the Supreme Court this morning against a November 9 order of Bombay High Court denying him interim bail in the 2018 suicide abetment case of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik. The petition is listed for hearing tomorrow at 10.30 AM before a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee
Dave has gone on to question the Registrar too asking if he was giving preferential treatment to Goswami without the CJI’s knowledge.
“It is quite well known that such extraordinarily urgent listings of matters cannot and does not take place without specific orders from Honble the Chief Justice . Or is it that as the Administrative Head you or the Registrar listing is giving special preference to Shri Goswami?” says Dave in his letter.
Comparing Goswami’s case with that of P Chidambaram, who had also approached Court for bail in the INX media case, Dave states that “even someone like P Chidambaram, a respected Senior Advocate, could not get similar speedy listing and had to spend long months in jail till finally the Hon’ble Supreme Court declared that he deserved to be bailed out.’
Dave adds that the serious issue involved here was the “selective listing of matters that the Registry of the top court was indulging in the last eight months during COVID pandemic.”
Dave maintains that thousands of citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters filed before the Supreme Court “are not getting listed for weeks and months.”
Dave goes on to substantiate his concern, stating that in his capacity as the president of the SCBA, he has received several requests from various Advocates-on-Record claiming that “matters filed by them are not getting listed for weeks and months though very urgent and involves serious issues requiring SC’s urgent intervention including bail matters.“
“Why is this selective listing taking place when system is supposedly computerised and is to work automatically ? Why is It that despite the same, matters are getting circulated and that too before only few Hon’ble Benches ? Why is there no foolproof system to be just and fair to all Citizens and all AORs?”
Dave’s letter reads.,
Dave in his letter has stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had created serious challenges for lawyers and that their very livelihood is threatened.
The senior lawyer has also referred to how suggestions from the Bar on switching to a better platform for video conferencing are pending with Supreme e-committee and how the CJI’s direction to Reliance Jio to contact e-committee for providing Fibre optics was a “bolt from the blue and a shock.”
Dave further speaks about how fewer Court benches are in session daily and how “some of them don’t even sit during court hours due to unknown reasons or may be due to technological challenges.“
“Direct and debilitating effect is on the Justice delivery and rights of the citizens, at least common man. So, likes of Shri Goswami get special treatment while ordinary Indians are made to suffer, including imprisonment, which are many times illegal and unauthorised,” the letter states.
Dave has requested that till the Court does not install foolproof system to ensure urgent listing on well-known principles and till the Court has listed all the matters filed by various AORs with urgent listing requests prior to November 10, Goswami’s matter should not be heard tomorrow.