Lawyers “are a class apart in the society” and should “respect themselves first”, the Supreme Court said on Monday as it pulled up an advocate for raising “baseless and reckless allegations” against the court’s Registry at a time the staff is “working despite danger to their life and safety caused due to pandemic”.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer also imposed a “token” fine of Rs 100 on Advocate Rrepak Kansal who alleged that the SC Registry had delayed listing his case despite urgency pleaded by him and accused the officials of bias.
Kansal had claimed that preference is given to cases filed by influential lawyers or petitioners, law firms, etc and pointed to three recent petitions filed by him which he said were listed late.
The SC pointed out that there were defects in all the three cases.
Kansal claimed that while his petition was listed late, a plea by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was given urgent hearing. The court pointed out that Goswami’s matter “pertained to liberty and freedom of media” and “was listed urgently in view of order of competent authority”.
“We see, in general, it has become a widespread practice to blame the Registry for no good reasons,” the court said.
It said that “to err is human and there can be an error on the part of the dealing assistants too”. “This is too much to expect perfection from them, particularly when they are working to their maximum capacity even during the pandemic. The cases are being listed. It could not be said that there was an inordinate delay in listing the matters in view of the defects. The Court functioned during the lockdown, the cases were scanned and listed by the Registry. The staff of this Court is working despite danger to their life and safety caused due to pandemic, and several of the dealing staff, as well as officers, have suffered due to Covid-19. During such a hard time, it was not expected of the petitioner, who is an officer of this Court, to file such a petition to demoralise the Registry of this Court instead of recognising the task undertaken by them even during pandemic and lockdown period,” the bench said.