What Dushyant Dave Was Going to Say at Justice Mishra’s Farewell

As president of SCBA, Dave was expected to speak at the farewell on 2 September, but was not allowed to, he alleges.

Updated
Law
3 min read
Dushyant Dave (L) and Justice Arun Mishra (R).
i

Controversy dogged Justice Arun Mishra’s tenure at the Supreme Court, and even on his final day at the office on Tuesday, 2 September, it could not be left far behind.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has sent a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) placing on record his “strong disappointment and condemnation” at what happened during Justice Mishra’s farewell, when he was not allowed to speak by the court officials.

The president of the SCBA traditionally gives a speech at the official farewell organised by the court for outgoing judges, which takes place in the court of the Chief Justice. However, during Justice Mishra’s farewell, for which Dave was invited, he was not asked to speak, with Shivaji Jadhav, president of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) asked by the CJI instead.

Dave said that he had been muted throughout the proceedings, and also says that “For some unknown reasons, I was being disconnected again and again but I persisted and rejoined each time. I saw and heard Shri Jadhav fully and at the end of his address again, I was not requested to speak though Shri Jadhav has acknowledged my presence in his address.”

When CJI SA Bobde spoke and then asked Justice Mishra to speak – which ends the farewell ceremony – Dave logged out.

In his letter to the CJI, Dave writes:

“The entire episode leaves much to be desired on the part of this great Institution. The whole attempt was to prevent me from addressing on behalf of the SCBA and its EC , after having invited and invitation having been accepted. This was clearly an affront to the Bar and to me personally.”

The senior lawyer is known to speak his mind, and has engaged in some fiery exchanges with judges of the Supreme Court, including Justice Mishra over the years, including most recently when he was representing Prashant Bhushan in the contempt case against him.

Justice Mishra had earlier taken the unusual step of turning down the invitation for the farewell organised by the SCBA for him, saying, “Taking into consideration the severe situation and sufferings the world over on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, my conscience does not permit me to participate in any farewell function.”

‘INTROSPECT, STIR UP YOUR CONSCIENCE’: WHAT HAD DAVE PLANNED TO SAY

In his letter to the CJI, Dave says that while he may have stopped him from speaking because he feared what he might say, here is what he had planned to say:

“On behalf of the SCBA, the EC and Myself, I wish you, Justice Mishra, happiness and bliss in remainder of your long life which by all accounts will be as fruitful and rewarding as it has been. May I pray to Lord Mahabaleshwar to bless you with strength to introspect and stir up your conscience.”

Dave concluded by saying that he was “deeply saddened” by these events, which showed things at the apex court had reached a situation “where the Judges are afraid of the Bar.”

“Please do remember,” he goes on to write, that “Judges come and go but we the Bar remain constant. We are the real strength of this great Institution because we are permanent.”

He concluded by saying that he would not attend any further functions at the Supreme Court till his tenure as SCBA president ends, in December this year.

SUPREME COURT OFFICIALS SAY NO DELIBERATE ATTEMPT

The Supreme Court’s computer cell has now sought to clarify that there was no deliberate attempt to mute Dave, and have also said that he did not raise the issue with them during the virtual proceedings.

Dave, however, had already clarified in his letter that he had messaged the Secretary General of the court asking why he had been kept on mute, saying:

“But what is most important is that I messaged the Secretary General on what s up at 12.49 and again at 12.53 asking why I was kept on mute and why was I at all invited . Only at 1.02 he responded saying he is instructing Registrar to look into it , by which tome it was too late and so I messaged him informing that I had exited.”

Sources also say that there may have been some technical glitches in the video conference, and that even Justice Indira Banerjee was unable to attend the farewell as a result.

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