Followed by Justice V R Krishna Iyer's letter, former Supreme Court Judge, Justice K T Thomas has also written to Chief Justice of India seeking action on allegations raised by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave regarding the disposal of a 12 year old land allotment case by a two-judge bench headed by Justice C.K.Prasad, which was actually listed before another three Judge Bench.
Justice Thomas writes;
"I received copy of a letter which Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer sent to you regarding what Sr. Advocate Dushyant Dave had written to you (regarding the order dated 25.2.2014). If what the Sr. Advocate mentioned is true, no doubt it would disturb the mind of anyone interested in upholding the rule of law and the majesty of the Supreme Court of India. I write this to express my sincere wish that you will not hesitate to take appropriate remedial measures to extricate Supreme Court from the ignominy created on account of the order referred to in the letter"
Earlier Live Law had published the letter by Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer. Justice Iyer had written to Chief Justice of India stating that "I have received a copy of the letter from Advocate Dushant Dave where he had mentioned various statements concerning the great institution of the Supreme Court of India. You are its Chief Justice and the highest judicial authority in the country. Reading the letter as a whole and the issues specified by him I was outraged that particular judges could behave in bizarre ways. This is no secret but desiderates a public enquiry at your high level with appropriate action. Delay or indifference in these matters will bring disrepute to the sublime Supreme Court. I say no more at this stage except to request you to take speedy and suitable proceedings where the major concern will be the majesty of the Supreme Court and fearless fair and high level action that you feel deserves to be taken to protect the reputation of the High Bench of which you are the Chief Justice.
It was Live Law which broke the story first on 4th March . There is strong resentment among the members of the Bar for the perceived inaction on the part of the Judiciary for not taking any corrective measures even after damaging reports appeared in the media. Speaking to Live Law Prashant Bhushan remarked that 'the circumstances under which the order (permitting withdrawal) was made prima facie shows 'dishonest motive'. He said 'it was a blatant case of not just judicial impropriety, but also smacks of 'dishonest motive'.
It is also saddening to notice that many Senior members of the Bar who are very vocal on prime time Television Shows are expressly silent on the issue. The Vice-President of Supreme Court Bar Association had told Livelaw that SCBA would be discussing this issue, but nothing has come out. The members of the Bar, who are socially active, demand that there should be action either way to protect the majesty of law and the Supreme Court as an Institution.
Mr. Dave wrote to the Chief Justice of India to take action in a case involving grant of permission by a 2-judges Bench of the Supreme Court, which passed an order to post Civil Appeal No. 9454-9455 of 2010 along with another unconnected SLP (Crl) No. 7232/2013 before it, and then permitted the appellant to withdraw the Writ Petition from the Mumbai High Court itself, as a result of which the damaging observations of the High Court, where it found on merits that the public property is given to a private party at grossly undervalued price had been completely erased. ( Please read the Live Law reports for complete facts and orders ). The members of the Bar point out that if such order by the Supreme Court is allowed to remain, it would create a highly improper precedent by which one can get a judgment set aside, by withdrawing base writ petition or suit as the case may be.
Mr. Dave refers to the above developments as 'extraordinary', and 'unparalleled, reflecting gross abuse of judicial power to cause damage to public running into an unspecified amount.'
Mr. Dave has flagged several issues of vital importance, some of which are extracted below :
How did the Bench become aware of the Civil Appeal when that matter had never crossed its path?
Who could have informed the said bench about the Civil Appeals?
Whether the Registry could have at all tagged a Civil Appeal listed for hearing before Hon'ble Mr. Justice B.S. Chauhan without an order from that Bench?
Whether the Bench upon being pointed out on 25.02.2014 by Mr. C.U. Singh, Ld. Senior Advocate that the two matters were not connected in any manner and having accepted the submission, ought not to have sent back the Civil Appeals to the Bench before they were listed?
Should the Bench not have awaited the appearance by CIDCO, a statutory authority, especially when the matter involved land worth several hundred crores and strong judgment of the Bombay High Court?
Is the judgment and order pronounced on 25.02.2014 not illegal, coram non judice and violative of basic principles of exercise of judicial power and liable to recalled forthwith?
Should the Supreme Court not put in place fool proof Rules to ensure that the judicial abuse witnessed in allcocation, especially on mentioning to avoid forum shopping in interest of justice?
Should the Registry not be held accountable?"
Mr. Dave continues : "there is a continuous and strong feeling amongst young members of the Bar that these kind of machinations are hurting their future and they are getting increasingly despondent. I feel that the institution owes a lot to them. The events reflect a disturbing trend witnessed in the Supreme Court over the last couple of years, and has seriously shaken the faith in the Institution in some of us who respect and love the Institution immensely."
Concluding his letter, Mr. Dave has made a fervent plea to the Chief Justice of India to "suo moto exercise the curative power" by the Supreme Court to remedy the "gross abuse of the process of the court" and "to act forthwith to restore the dignity of the Court and to prevent some of us from losing faith in the Institution completely."
Justice K.T. Thomas, who was chosen as the head of the Search Committee for appointment of Lokpal had recently resigned expressing his inability to take up the appointment.
Since two respectable former Judges of the Supreme Court have written to Chief Justice, members of the Bar say that it would be difficult for the Chief Justice to ignore the issue.