SC lawyer Dushyant Dave questions priority to Arnab Goswami
The Supreme Court will hold a special hearing on Wednesday during its Diwali recess to examine Republic TV managing director Arnab Goswami’s plea for bail, prompting senior advocate Dushyant Dave to ask how Goswami gets “instant” hearing every time he approaches the top court while other petitioners languish in jail for months as they wait for their appeals to be listed.
After his plea for interim bail was rejected on Monday by Bombay High Court, which said that by law Goswami should seek regular bail in the sessions court before approaching the higher courts, the Republic TV boss moved the top court on Tuesday. The Supreme Court has listed the matter before Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee on Wednesday.
In a letter to the Supreme Court secretary-general, Dave, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, drew attention to the “extraordinary urgent listing” of Goswami’s special leave petition.
“I address this letter to you as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association to lodge a strong protest with regard to the subject matter which has been listed tomorrow…. I have nothing personal against Mr Goswami and I am not writing this letter to anyway interfere with his rights to move the Supreme Court. Like all citizens he also has the right to seek justice from the highest court,” Dave wrote.
“The serious issue here is selective listing of matters that the registry under your leadership is indulging in for the last eight months during the Covid pandemic. While thousands of citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court are not getting listed for weeks and months, it is, to say the least, deeply disturbing as to how and why every time Mr Goswami approaches the Supreme Court, his matter gets listed instantly,” the senior lawyer wrote.
“Is there any special order or direction from Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India and the Master of the Roster in this regard? It is quite well known that such extraordinarily urgent listings of matters cannot and does not take place without specific orders from Hon’ble the Chief Justice. Or is it that as the administrative head you or the registrar listing is giving special preference to Shri Goswami?” he asked.
Dave continued: “You are fully aware, and it is on record, that time and again I have received requests from various advocates on record to the effect that the matters filed by them are not getting listed for weeks and months though very urgent and involving serious issues requiring the Hon’ble court’s urgent intervention, including bail matters. They have even complained, giving names, that certain AOR (advocate on record) matters get instant listing while they have to wait in queue for a long time, sometimes against the same judgment being appealed against.
“I must place on record that in a few cases you have kindly helped in getting such matters listed. But that is not the issue. The issue here is, why is this selective listing taking place when the system is supposedly computerised and is to work automatically? Why is it that despite the same, matters are getting circulated and that too before only a few Hon’ble benches? Why is there no foolproof system to be just and fair to all citizens and all AORs?…
“…The likes of Shri Goswami get special treatment while ordinary Indians are made to suffer, including imprisonment….
“Even someone like Mr P. Chidambaram, a respected senior advocate, could not get similar speedy listing and had to spend long months in jail …
“Sir, the subject matter (Goswami’s plea) was filed yesterday, it got instant diary number, though not final, and it is listed tomorrow. This is a gross abuse of administrative power, whosoever has exercised it on the administrative side. It gives an impression that clients represented by certain lawyers are getting special treatment, which does not speak well of the great institution that the Supreme Court is.
“I request that till you install a foolproof system to ensure urgent listing on well-known principles, till you have listed all the matters filed by various AORs with urgent listing requests prior to November 10, you should not allow the subject matter to be heard. I request you to place my letter before Hon’ble bench hearing the matter tomorrow.”