The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition alleging alleging adoption of a "pick and choose" policy by its Registry and of routinely giving preference to influential advocates in listings.
The Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra dismissed petition filed by lawyer, Reepak Kansal, and imposed a fine of Rs 100 on him for filing the plea in which he had sought seeking a direction to its Secretary General & Registrar/officers in "not to give preferences to cases filed by influential lawyers/petitioners".
"We are imposing a minimum cost of Rs 100 on you," said the Court.
The bench observed :
"We see, in general, it has become a widespread practice to blame the Registry for no good reasons. To err is human, as many petitions are filed with defects, and defects are not cured for years together. A large number of such cases were listed in the recent past before the Court for removal of defects which were pending for years. In such situation, when the pandemic is going on, baseless and reckless allegations are made against the Registry of this Court, which is part and parcel of the judicial system. We take judicial notice of the fact that such evil is also spreading in the various High Courts, and Registry is blamed unnecessarily for no good reasons".
The Court said that a large number of petitions are filed which are defective; still, the insistence is made to list them and mention is made that they should be listed urgently. The bench observed thus:
"It happens in a large number of matters, and unnecessary pressure is put upon the Assistants dealing with the cases. We find due to mistakes/ carelessness when petitions with defects are filed, it should not be expected that they should be listed instantly. To err is human and there can be an error on the part of the Dealing Assistants too. This is too much to expect perfection from them, particularly when they are working to their maximum capacity even during the pandemic. The cases are being listed. It could not be said that there was an inordinate delay in listing the matters in view of the defects. "
In his petition, he had alleged that the Section officers and/or Registry of Supreme Court routinely gives preferences to some law firms and influential advocates for reasons "best known to them".
The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Abdul Nazeer had heard this petition on 19th June. It took serious objections to the allegations raised by Advocate Reepak Kansal, who complained that the SC Registry was showing discrimination and undue preferences in the matter of listing of all cases.
"How can you compare your Petition on One Nation One Ration Card to the plea of Arnab Goswami? What was the urgency? Why are you saying nonsensical things? All members of registry work day and night to make your life easier. You are demoralising them. How can you say such things?", the bench made these oral observations during the hearing.
ORDERS IN PLEA ALLEGING "BIAS" & "FAVOURITISM" BY REGISTRY WHILE LISTING CASES:SC to shortly deliver order in a Lawyer's PIL alleging adoption of a "pick and choose" policy by its Registry and of routinely giving preference to influential advocates in listings.#SupremeCourt— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) July 6, 2020
ORDERS IN PLEA ALLEGING "BIAS" & "FAVOURITISM" BY REGISTRY WHILE LISTING CASES:SC to shortly deliver order in a Lawyer's PIL alleging adoption of a "pick and choose" policy by its Registry and of routinely giving preference to influential advocates in listings.#SupremeCourt
Kansal stated that the Section officers and/or Registry of Supreme Court routinely gave preferences to some law firms and influential advocates for reasons "best known to them".
"This is discrimination and against equal opportunity to get justice in this Hon'ble Court", he states.
"Because, the Respondent no. 2/ Filing Section take several days to check / point out the defects if, it is filed by an ordinary petitioner or lawyers and list the cases within few minutes by ignoring the defects / procedure if, it is filed by any influential lawyer or petitioner"
The plea further contended,
"There is no procedure was followed by the Registry i.e. filing application for urgent hearing or letter etc which was necessary for the urgent listing of the cases during nation lock down"
The plea also contended that seeing this "discriminatory" practice adopted by the Registry and after failing to get his petition listed despite a letter of urgency on record annexed with the petition, Kansal complained to Secretary General of the Top Court via email. No response was given by the respondents, he states.
Title : Reepak Kansal vs Secretary General, Supreme Court of India and others
Case No : Writ Petition (C) 541/2020
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