New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Tuesday pondered as to what should be an appropriate ‘Ankush’ (curb) to stop people from using bad language for criticising the court.
A bench headed by Justice S.K. Kaul said: “We do not believe in hanging philosophy. What should be an appropriate Ankush?”
The top court made the observation during the hearing of a plea against the recall of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHCAA) President Yatin Oza’s senior designation by the Gujarat High Court in a suo moto contempt case last year.
A battery of senior advocates represented the GHCAA and Oza in the Supreme Court. Oza’s counsel argued that taking away the senior gown is a veritable kiss of death, as it takes away his professional career.
“The gown was taken away in July last year, and he had hardly gone to the court since then. There is no question of doing it again. He has undergone enough humiliation,” argued senior advocate Arvind Datar.
Justice Kaul noted that the court needs to perform a balancing act, keeping in mind the sentiments of the high court, as a full court decided to take action against him.
“Arriving at an unanimous decision by a full court is a very difficult thing. If you, by your conduct, have invited the decision, something must have been done,” the top court observed.
The court noted that nobody says the court’s registry cannot be criticisd, but everything is about the language.
“A lot of things can be said in a nice manner,” said the top court.
Senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, representing the GHCAA, urged the top court to consider Oza’s unconditional apology in the matter. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Oza, said his client has unconditionally apologised and it is a different thing that nobody is willing to accept the apology.
“This matter does not need to go further. I have learnt the lesson of my life,” submitted Singhvi on behalf of Oza.
The top court pointed out that Oza had repeatedly made mistakes. “He is the leader of the bar. What guidance is he giving to his colleagues,” asked the top court.
The top court queried advocate Nikhil Goel, representing the high court, could the gown (senior designation) be restored after the summer vacation as an interim measure?
After a detailed hearing, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing next week.
Last year, Oza had made some allegations against the high court and its registry. Later, the high court issued a contempt notice against him.
“Scurrilous remarks appear to have been made without any substantive basis and without any intent to know the truth as also without approaching the Chief Justice for any inquiry as the head of the institution,” the high court had said.