Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave on Tuesday wrote a letter to secretary general of the top court lodging “strong protest” on “selective listing” of journalist Arnab Goswami’s interim bail plea in the 2018 case of alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer, before a vacation bench on November 11.
Arnab Goswami’s bail plea will be taken up for hearing on Wednesday before a vacation bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee.
Dave clarified that he has nothing personal against Goswami and he is not writing this letter to anyway interfere in with his rights to move the Supreme Court as like all citizens, the editor-in-chief of Republic TV also has right to seek justice from the highest court.
Terming the subject of his letter as the “extraordinary urgent listing of the Special Leave Petition filed on behalf of Arnab Goswami,” Dave has questioned whether there was a special direction from the Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde himself to list petitions by the journalist urgently.
“While thousands of citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters before the Supreme Court are not getting listed for weeks and months, it is, to say the least, deeply disturbing, how and why every time Mr. Goswami approaches the Supreme Court, his matter gets listed instantly. Is there any special Order or Direction from Honble the Chief Justice of India and the Master of the Roaster in this regard ?” Dave has asked.
Goswami had approached the Supreme Court this morning against a November 9 order of Bombay High Court denying him interim bail in the 2018 suicide abetment case of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik. The petition is listed for hearing tomorrow at 10.30 AM before a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee
Dave has gone on to question the Registrar too asking if he was giving preferential treatment to Goswami without the CJI’s knowledge.
“It is quite well known that such extraordinarily urgent listings of matters cannot and does not take place without specific orders from Honble the Chief Justice . Or is it that as the Administrative Head you or the Registrar listing is giving special preference to Shri Goswami?” says Dave in his letter.
Comparing Goswami’s case with that of P Chidambaram, who had also approached Court for bail in the INX media case, Dave states that “even someone like P Chidambaram, a respected Senior Advocate, could not get similar speedy listing and had to spend long months in jail till finally the Hon’ble Supreme Court declared that he deserved to be bailed out.’
Dave adds that the serious issue involved here was the “selective listing of matters that the Registry of the top court was indulging in the last eight months during COVID pandemic.”
Dave maintains that thousands of citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters filed before the Supreme Court “are not getting listed for weeks and months.”
Dave goes on to substantiate his concern, stating that in his capacity as the president of the SCBA, he has received several requests from various Advocates-on-Record claiming that “matters filed by them are not getting listed for weeks and months though very urgent and involves serious issues requiring SC’s urgent intervention including bail matters.“
“Why is this selective listing taking place when 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 few Hon’ble Benches ? Why is there no foolproof system to be just and fair to all Citizens and all AORs?”
“This is a gross abuse of administrative power, whosoever has exercised it on 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,” he said.
Requesting that till fool proof system is installed to ensure urgent listing on well-known principles and till the matters filed by various AORs are listed, Dave said that the secretary general should not allow Goswami’s plea to be heard.
He requested the secretary general to place his letter before the bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud which is scheduled to take up Goswami’s plea.