The hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case not only witnessed special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra taking stock of the status of pleadings and submission of documents but was also marked by some sharp comments from senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan who appeared for Appellant M.Siddique (Through LRS) .
Dhavan insisted that the issue was important and demanded day-to-day hearing by a constitution bench.
He also said that such a constitution bench should sit at a stretch and “not like now when it breaks often to hear other matters. There must be continuity”.
“ This is an important issue which should be heard by a constitution bench and there should be day to day hearing at a stretch not like now see how constitution bench hearing is being broken god knows when and why and some other cases are taken up”, he said.
“Bearing in mind what has been observed in the Ismail Farooqui judgment, this matter is assumes importance not just for the country but globally...”, he said.
Chief Justice Misra then retorted: “Why not? Litigants are waiting for justice. There are at least 700 cases which can be finished if we devote at least one and a half hours per day. There is nothing wrong in it”
There was angry exchange again when advocate C S Vaidyanathan who appears for Lord Ram said “All parties should give a synopsis of their line of argument to the bench and exchange with contesting parties".
Dhavan protested: “How is it even possible ? There are at least 12 issues in this matter each of which has a large number of propositions. Let me give you a proposition- You are wrong! ( peals of laughter in the courtroom) I will argue the case how I deem fit. Either the court has faith in the senior members of the bar or it does not.”
“ I will not give any synopsis on line of argument . I will argue the way I want to. Your lordship cannot curtail my right”, he kept repeating.
At this moment Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta intervened to tell Dhavan: “Hyperbole must be avoided”.
Dhavan asked : “What hyperbole ? I repeat I will only argue the way I want to”
CJI then asked Dhavan: “Have we asked for any synopsis from anybody ? why is Mr. Dhavan getting angry?”
Dhavan replied: “I only said no party can indicate what propositions other side should argue”
The Chief Jusstice then said: “Propositions lead to assumptions, leading to presumptions, leading to untruth, leading to folly, leading to danger, leading to guilt, which can kill a man"
Dhavan then said: “I'm not guilty of all that”
HAD RETIRED FROM PRACTICE AND THEN WITHDRAWN
It is to be noted that Dhavan had on December 11 announced his retirement from court practice following some sharp exchanges with CJI Misra during a earlier hearing of the Ramjanambhoomi dispute and Delhi Govt Vs Lt Governor power tussle case and then withdrew the decision on December 28.
Withdrawing his decision to retire, Dhavan wrote to CJI Misra that he would continue to fulfill his obligations in several pending cases such as the Babri Masjid dispute.
Besides, he said, several ex-justices of the court and a sitting judge, along with many senior and other colleagues had requested him to withdraw his statement about retirement.
“I owe and have learnt a lot from the Supreme Court and judicial system, including my colleagues, and have not repaid my debt,” he wrote.
“There are some things fundamentally wrong with the court and its functioning,” Dhavan wrote. “But I will never abandon my faith in the rule of law for which the entire judiciary including the legal community are custodians for the people.”