A day after Supreme Court lawyers issued a statement requesting senior Supreme Court judge Justice Arun Mishra to be patient with lawyers, Mishra on Thursday expressed his willingness to apologize in an open courtroom for his conduct.
On Tuesday, allegedly a heated argument broke out between Justice Mishra, heading a 5-judge Constitution Bench hearing cases associated with land acquisition and senior lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayan after the judge asked him not to repeat the argument.
Justice Mishra warned the senior advocate of contempt proceedings and ensuring his conviction in the same. After this, Sankaranarayan collected his files and walked out of the courtroom.
Senior advocates including Kapil Sibal, Mukul Rohatgi, Abhishek Singhvi and Supreme Court Bar Association president Rakesh Khanna mentioned the issue to the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah as soon as they assembled in court number 3 to conduct the day’s proceedings.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) expressed deep concern over the alleged threat of contempt proceedings.
“The EC of SCAORA expresses deep concern over the threat of contempt proceedings and conviction by Justice Arun Mishra to Gopal Sankaranarayanan, while he was performing his professional duties. The body of lawyers requested Justice Mishra “to be a little bit more patient in dealing with lawyers,” a statement issued by SCAORA said.
“Several members of the Bar have repeatedly been raising such grievance about the unwanted treatment and passing personal remarks by Justice Mishra,” said the SCAORA resolution, adding that the duty to maintain the court’s dignity and decorum was upon both lawyers and judges.
On the willingness of the senior lawyers to seek apology from him, Justice Arun Mishra said, “If anybody had felt anything bad, I am ready to apologise with folded hands. I am not at all somebody who is egoistic. I am ready to die for the Bar.”
He further expressed his concern on the targeting of the judiciary in television programmes and news articles in connection with the court proceedings. Justice Mishra also insisted that he can apologize a hundred times to any lawyer who felt hurt by his conduct.
Justice Mishra insisted to apologise, but he also felt that the reaction of the lawyer, which triggered the heated exchange, was not proper.
(With inputs from agencies)