The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed strong displeasure over recent instances of lawyers allegedly violating decorum and raising their voice during hearings, and said it would “not tolerate” such conduct “at any cost”.
The remarks came from Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who was part of a Constitution Bench considering a petition that raised the question whether a Parsi woman who married a Hindu could be said to have lost her Parsi identity even though she had not converted.
Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, arguing for the Parsi trust which is the respondent in the matter, touched upon the issue of court decorum.
Joining issue, CJI Misra said “what happened yesterday was atrocious and what happened a day before was more atrocious”.
Though the CJI did not mention any case, it was apparent that it was a reference to what had transpired during the hearing in the Delhi government-versus-Centre tussle on Wednesday and the Ayodhya hearing on Tuesday.
“When lawyers argue in a manner not in tune with constitutional language, we will tolerate it, but for how long? If the Bar does not regulate itself, we will be compelled to regulate,” the CJI observed. “Unfortunately, a small group of senior counsel think they can raise their voices. But they must understand that raising voices will not be tolerated. Raising voices only shows their inadequacy, incompetence and that they are not fit to be seniors,” he added.
The court witnessed passionate exchanges between senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan and Indira Jaising and between Dhavan and CJI Misra during Wednesday’s hearing on the AAP government’s challenge to Delhi HC’s order confirming the L-G as the administrative head of the NCT. A day earlier, too, during the hearing on Ayodhya, Dhavan, and senior counsel Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave took on the bench.