NEW DELHI: The BCI has come out in support of Justice Arun Mishra, who apologised on Thursday for his alleged 'contempt threat' to a senior advocate during a recent hearing, and said that instead of making it an issue in public, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) could have met the judge in his chamber and expressed it views.
The Bar Council of India criticised the reaction of Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association (SCAORA) and the executive committee of SCBA which had requested the judge to be "little bit more patient in dealing with lawyers".
"It is our foremost duty to respect the institution. There were/are many decent ways to resolve such issues. Instead of going in public and making it an issue, the responsible office-bearers of SCBA could have met the Judge in his chamber and expressed their views."
"Even Chief Justice of India could have been requested to mediate," BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said in a press statement on Wednesday.
Justice Mishra on Thursday said he would "apologise a hundred times" with "folded hands" if anybody is hurt by his words, two days after he had warned Gopal Sankaranarayanan of contempt action while hearing land acquisition matter.
The BCI said that "misbehaviour and misconduct" of a handful of advocates and senior advocates have become frequent.
"For last 3-4 years, all of us are noticing the frequent misbehaviour and misconduct of a handful of Advocates and also of a few Senior Advocates in the Courts."
"We are reminded of the days of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the two former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court; How and up to what extent 2-3 members of the Bar went to harass and torture them for ulterior purposes. It was all plotted, planned," the release said.
It said SCBA, SCAORA and "almost all the senior and other Advocates were fully aware of these misconduct and contemptuous acts.
Everyone used to criticize these Advocates in corridors, but neither SCBA nor Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association ever came forward to get such misconduct stopped," it said.
BCI further said it was the duty of the SCBA to maintain the dignity and decorum of the court and to stop such lawyers from creating "frequent nuisances" in court rooms and from "unnecessary criticizing and targeting any particular judge".
It also criticised the letter written by senior advocate and former president of SCBA Vikas Singh to incumbent SCBA president and senior lawyer Rakesh Kumar Khanna to call an urgent meeting to "condemn" the incident, saying it is hoped that he would not do anything which could lay a bad precedent for future.
"Vikas Singh is a seasoned senior advocate, he has been a witness of all these nasty things during his tenure. Therefore, We hope and trust that he will rethink and will not do anything which could lay a bad precedent for future. Moreover, he is a candidate in the elections also. From that point of view too, it is not advisable to make such proposals," the BCI said.
It said Singh who is also a candidate in the ensuing election asking SCBA to convene a meeting and "pass some resolution to lodge the protest not to stand in court while the particular Judge enters the courtroom, is somewhat disturbing. In my opinion, when the Executive Committee had already taken up the issue, there was no need to publicise such letter".
BCI said that the judiciary belonged to both the lawyers and judges and there were decent ways to resolve such issues.
"Gopal Sankaranarayanan is a respectable Senior Advocate, therefore, the Supreme Court Bar Association's Executive Committee could have tried for a respectable means to settle the matter before passing the resolution. No senior and responsible Advocate ever likes to make such letter/matter public," it said.
"It affects the Institution as well as his reputation also. Our few hasty resolutions have far-reaching effects, therefore, these extreme steps should not be taken without exhausting the other dignified remedies available to the Bar and its leaders," it said.