BCI Defends Collegium Decisions To Elevate Justices BR Gavai, Surya Kant To SC And Vishal Mishra To MP HC
Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Manan Kumar Mishra has issued a statement through a letter today defending the collegium decisions to elevate Justices BR Gavai, Surya Kant Rao to the Supreme Court and advocate Vishal Sharma to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
BCI criticized Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave's comments about these collegium recommendations as Dave used the word "reciprocity" referring to the close relationship between both Justice Gavai and Justice SA Bobde, also between CJI Gogoi and Justice Surya Kant Rao.
Mishra said in his statement that both Justice Gavai and Justice Bobde were from the Bombay High Court, thus they must have known each other as brother judges do. Similarly, CJI must have had interacted with Justuce Surya Kant on several occasions, thus the allegations by Dushyant Dave were deemed as baseless.
Citing the examples of collegium's recommendation of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant to be elevated to SC, Dave wrote in an article published in Bar and Bench-
"Take for example the recent decision of the Supreme Court Collegium to recommended the elevation of two judges - Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant. The decision comes on the heels of the report of the in-house committee headed by Justice SA Bobde giving a clean chit to the Chief Justice of India in respect of sexual harassment allegations made by a woman employee who worked closely with him.
Justice Gavai is known to be extremely close to Justice Bobde, while Justice Surya Kant is perceived to be a pick of the Chief Justice himself. Reciprocity is writ large."
When we carefully examine the past and present statements of Mr.Dave, we find that he was very active in supporting the false case of sexual harassment lodged against CJI Ranjan Gogoi. And now he is trying to connect that dead case with recommendations made by the collegium, Mishra stated.
Dave had argued in the article that Justice Gavai reflected the lack of an "independent and fearless" judicial approach on at least two occasions. Once presiding over the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, he allowed a criminal application for quashing criminal proceedings pending against Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, in respect of several offences, many of which were not compoundable.
Secondly, Justice Gavai alongside Justice SB Shukre, gave press interviews to the Indian Express on November 27, 2017, on the matter concerning the unfortunate and suspicious death of late Judge BH Loya, the presiding judge of the CBI court which was hearing the Sohrabbudin case, Dave said.
BCI Chairman refuted these allegations against Justice Gavai and said Dushyant Dave himself along with 2-3 of his lawyer friends had vehemently supported the press conference by 4 senior most judges of the apex court and now "when it comes to Justice Gavai we fail to understand why he has become a critic."
Dave also referred to elevation of advocate Vishal Mishra to the Madhya Pradesh High Court and said that under normal circumstances his name would have never been recommended as he is below the age bar adopted by the collegium itself, but he happens to be the nephew of Justice Arun Mishra, a fourth senior-most judge in SC.
In reply to this, BCI said;
The unanimous view of the Madhya Pradesh Bar with regard to Mr. Mishra is that he is a very knowledeable and efficient lawyer. He has a very lucrative practice and strictly maintains professional ethics. The independent opinion of Bar about hims is that he is a lawyer or extraordinary merit.
Now, by sheer chance if such a brilliant lawyer happens to be the nephew of a Judge, he cannot be compromised only because of relationship and on the basis of baseless/frivolous comments of someone (who it appears, has developed a habit to criticise and comment on each and every decision of the collegiums)
"The independent opinion of the Bar about him is that he is a lawyer of extraordinary merit. Now, by sheer chance if such a brilliant lawyer happens to be the nephew of a judge, he cannot be ignored for elevation to the High Court."
"What we find is Mr.Dave and 3-4 other lawyers are trying to connect every decision of the Supreme Court or the collegium with the recent harassment case plotted against the Chief Justice of India.
That Bar does not appreciate such attitude and it is of the clear opinion that these handful of lawyers are bent upon spoiling the name of the institution for serving their self-interest" the letter states.
Bar Council of India states it released the said statement after consulting with the respective bars about the three recommendations for elevation questioned by Dave.
Read the letter