BCI Slams Chelameswar Post Retirement For “Irrelevant” Remarks

The Bar Council of India said that his “controversial” and “irrelevant” comments are liable to be “deprecated.”

Published
India
3 min read
Justice Jasti Chelameswar.
i

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has lashed out against Justice J Chelameswar for his "controversial" and "irrelevant" statements in the media, three days after his retirement as a Supreme Court Judge, saying such comments are liable to be "deprecated" and "cannot be tolerated" by lawyers.

Justice Chelameswar, who demitted office on 22 June, had disapproved of the Centre's decision not to elevate Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court, terming the action as "not sustainable".

The judge, who had held an unprecedented presser along with three other senior Supreme Court judges in January to highlight the litany of allegations including discrimination in allocation of cases to benches, had also said that the credibility of the highest judiciary was "occasionally" in danger.

Efforts to reach Justice Chelameswar for his comments did not frucitify.

“Self-Restraint by Judges at High Post Seems to be a Forgotten Virtue”: BCI

In a statement, BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has criticised the statements of Justice Chelameswar after he demitted the office, and said it was not expected from a person who had held a high post and went against its dignity.

"Self-restraint by the judges of the highest court seems to be a forgotten virtue. They have to prevent themselves from issuing statements without giving any thought to the consequences such statements could entail,” the statement, also signed by four other office-bearers of BCI, said.

“The manner in which Justice Chelameswar went to the media and gave controversial and irrelevant statements immediately upon retirement, was not expected of a person holding such a high post and was in fact against the dignity of the post he had held,” BCI’s statement read.

"Such statements and comments are liable to be deprecated. Such statements cannot be tolerated, accepted or digested by the advocates including the rest of the countrymen," the statement added.

The statement said the judge had used a "controversial" word "bench fixing" and pointed out that there were instances in which "a handful of lawyers" had filed matters and mentioned it before him and tried to get it listed.

“Objections Should Have Been Raised at an Opportune Time”: BCI

The BCI said the judge should have raised an objection at that time but did not do so.

Justice Chelameswar has resorted to usage of such controversial words like ‘bench fixing’. Now if a handful of lawyers of the highest court filed matter/s and mentioned it before (him) and other chosen judges, and tried to get it listed, then that would have been bench fixing. Such instances have been repeated not once but on two-three occasions.
Bar Council of India alleged in its statement

Justice Chelameswar “should have raised an objection at that point of time”, but had not done so and “in fact accepted and agreed to hear certain matters himself which led to the beginning of a wrong practice,” the statement added.

It also alleged that “the fact that Justice Chelameswar met CPI leader and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja immediately after his press conference, clearly deciphers the mystery and the motive behind the controversial statements being issued" by him, the BCI said.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!