'Don't threaten the Chief Justice', heated exchanges between CJI, SCBA president
New Delhi, March 2 : Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Thursday told the senior advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh to not threaten him, during a hearing on the listing of the petition to convert a parcel of land which was allotted to the Supreme Court into chamber blocks for lawyers.
Singh mentioned the matter before a bench headed by CJI and comprising Justice P.S. Narasimha and sought hearing on a case relating to an allotment of a parcel of land for lawyers' chambers. Singh said the matter has not been listed for six times. The CJI replied that it will be listed in ordinary course. Singh submitted that then "I have to come to your residence..."
This statement angered the Chief Justice Chandrachud and he told Singh not to threaten the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice shouted at Singh, "Leave this court right now... You cannot cower us down!"
Singh raised his voice and pressed for hearing in the matter, as he is answerable to the Bar. CJI replied, "Mr Vikas Singh, please do not raise your voice. As a president of the Bar, you should be a mentor and leader of the Bar. I am sorry you are reducing the level of the dialogue...you filed an Article 32 petition claiming that a land which is allotted to the Supreme Court of India should be handed over to the Bar for the purpose of construction of chambers..."
The Chief Justice further added, "we will deal with the matter when it comes. Please do not try to twist our arm..." Singh said the court can dismiss the matter but then do not list it. CJI replied that he has given a date to Singh and it will be taken up on March 17, and it will not be listed at serial number 1.
The CJI told Singh, "I am the Chief Justice of this court. I have been here since 29 March 2000. I have been long enough in this profession for 22 years. I have never allowed myself to be brow beaten by a member of the Bar, by litigant, or by any one else. And, I will not do that in the final two years of my career."
Singh said he is not seeking any favour and people have been waiting for 20 years for the chambers, and if the Bar is cooperating with the court it does not mean that Bar should be taken for a ride. Chief Justice told Singh to sort out his agendas outside the courtroom and called out the next matter.
According to the SCBA president the matter has been listed six times and not taken up and the matter was also mentioned three times. The Appu ghar land came to the Supreme Court on a petition by the SCBA and the bar was given only one block with reluctance and now the land on which 40 per cent was to be used for chamber construction, which was to begin during CJI Ramana's tenure.
However, it got deferred because the Bar association wanted the entire land to be for chambers and its petition is pending and not being taken up for hearing. "We are being treated worse than ordinary litigants in listing our matter. The bar may have to sit in dharna outside the residence of the CJI if forced to do so. Our mentioning at item no 16," said Singh, in a communication to IANS.