Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who had earlier announced his decision to give up court practice, on Thursday said he would fulfil his obligations in pending cases like the Ayodhya title suit matter. In a letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Dhavan said that several former judges, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, colleagues and clients had urged him to take back his decision.
“I’m engaged in several matters such as the Babri Masjid case and others and must continue to fulfil my obligations in pending cases. I owe and have learnt a lot from the Supreme Court and judicial system, including my colleagues, and have not repaid my debt,” the letter said.
“There are some things fundamentally wrong with the court and its functioning. But I will never abandon my faith in the rule of law for which the entire judiciary including the legal community are custodians for the people.” Speaking to The Indian Express, Dhavan said, “The Ayodhya matter is a great pending obligation. I cannot let the Muslim parties down.”
Dhavan had decided to give up court practice earlier this month following what he termed was a “humiliating end” to the hearing in the Delhi government-versus-Centre matter. Dhavan had then written to the CJI, “You are entitled to take back the Senior Gown conferred on me, though I would like to keep it for memory and services rendered.”
This came a few days after his conduct during the December 6 hearing of a case — in which the AAP government had challenged the High Court verdict upholding the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of the National Capital Region — invited the CJI’s ire.
The courtroom had witnessed heated exchanges between Dhavan and Indira Jaising and also between Dhavan and CJI Misra, who headed a five-judge Constitution bench hearing the matter that day. Though Dhavan and Jaising were appearing for the Delhi government, there were disagreements in their line of argument. Dhavan persisted that he had more to argue, but this did not go down well with the CJI. This in turn upset Dhavan.
A day before that, too, there was high drama in the courtroom during the hearing of the Ayodhya demolition matter with Dhavan, and senior counsel Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave taking on the bench. At one point, they wanted to walk out of the court, expressing displeasure over the “procedure” adopted by it.
On December 8, while hearing a different matter, the issue of decorum in the courtroom came up. CJI Misra used the occasion to say, “What happened yesterday was atrocious and what happened a day before was more atrocious.” Though he did not mention any case, it was apparent that it was an oblique reference to what had transpired during the hearing in the Delhi government-versus-Centre tussle and Ayodhya hearing.