Justice J. Chelameswar, who had retired on 22 June, had faced criticism from the Bar Council of India (BCI) for certain remarks made by him during several interviews given to different media houses.
The BCI had especially deprecated the alleged use of “words like bench fixing” by Justice Chelameswar during one of the interviews. Curiously, the term was used during an interview, but by India Today’s Consulting Editor Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai, and in response, Justice Chelameswar had repeatedly and expressly refused to use the term.
In an interview given to Deccan Herald, Justice Chelameswar has now snubbed the BCI for having claimed to be the voice of “99.9 percent of the legal fraternity”, who they said had seen through the “ulterior motive” of the people who attempted to bring disrepute to the institution. The former Supreme Court Judge was quoted as saying,
“How can they say that the whole legal community is behind the BCI? I know many people who say that what I have done is right. Even Mahatma Gandhi was never backed by all the people of the country. Many might have respected him personally, but they opposed him politically. I don’t see any logic in those words. I leave it to their (BCI’s) wisdom.”
When asked to make a statement against BCI, he took a jibe at the lawyers’ body, saying that the same lawyers who are going to become judges someday couldn’t even spell his name properly. He said,
“I really don’t have time to react to every person. They even alleged that I had alleged “bench fixing” in an interview with a television news channel. It was the person interviewing me who said that. I only replied to that. I told him that we really don’t have to go to the extent of calling it that, but yes, the situation is certainly of concern. But if the BCI attributes to me words I didn’t say, there is nothing I can do about that. The BCI, in its press release, could not even spell my name properly. Some of them will one day become judges.”