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'Dandwat' Apology to All Lawyers if I Ever Hurt Them, Says SC Judge Day After Issuing Contempt Warning

Lawyers such as Kapil Sibal, AM Singhvi, Dushyant Dave, Mukul Rohatgi, CS Vaidyanathan and Shekhar Naphade had assembled in court number 3 to request Justice Mishra to be more patient and courteous with the members of the Bar.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:December 5, 2019, 12:36 PM IST
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'Dandwat' Apology to All Lawyers if I Ever Hurt Them, Says SC Judge Day After Issuing Contempt Warning
File photo of Justice Arun Mishra. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Two days after a senior lawyer walked out of his courtroom when warned of contempt, Justice Arun Mishra on Thursday said he expresses his 'dandwat' apology to every member of the Bar who would have ever felt hurt by his remarks.

“I give my apology hundred times to everyone with folded hands,” said the second most senior judge in the Supreme Court after a clutch of senior advocates gathered in his court with a peculiar request.

Lawyers such as Kapil Sibal, AM Singhvi, Dushyant Dave, Mukul Rohatgi, CS Vaidyanathan and Shekhar Naphade had assembled in court number 3 to request Justice Mishra to be more patient and courteous with the members of the Bar.

The seniors got together after Tuesday's incident wherein senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan was warned with contempt after which he walked out.

Sibal, Singhvi and Dave submitted that better decorum should be maintained in the court and this might require Justice Mishra to be more patient. Rohatgi, on his part, said a lot of youngsters are fearful of coming to this court, for right or wrong reasons.

All the seniors maintained that they were not talking about just one incident but their plea entailed cumulative effect of several incidents in the past.

At this, Justice MR Shah, who was sitting on the bench with Justice Mishra, pointed out that everything has to be mutual and that there are certain things said at the spur of a moment. Justice Mishra then intervened saying he has been more associated with the bar than any other judge.

"I respect the bar like my mother. No judge can have respect for the Bar as much as I have. I have hardly attended any event if it isn't organised by Bar. I haven't even drawn a contempt against any lawyer till date. Everywhere I have gone, I respected the Bar," he added.

Justice Mishra regretted that he has been unnecessarily targeted by several groups and in many write-ups too.

"I might have said anything but I never meant anything bad. In case anyone felt hurt, not just lawyers but even animals and plants, I am all for apology. I am apologetic for any harm I would have ever done to any living being ever in my life," added the judge.

Referring to the incident on Tuesday, Justice Mishra said: "Not only to Sankaranarayan but even to members of this bar much younger to him, I give my ‘dandwat’ apology hundred times... to everyone who would have been hurt."

The judge said Sankaranarayan is a brilliant lawyer and a message should be conveyed to him about what transpired today. Justice Mishra also said that he has always felt happier as a leader of the Bar than a judge and thinks the Bar gave him more.

The judge added that arrogance is not good for anyone but there are certain lawyers who display this at times.

"I am here with my apology with folded hands. But I am also worried about this institution. This is the greatest Bar and champion of cause. Nothing will save this country if the Bar doesn't stand up to its own. Judiciary can't save this country alone, you can," observed Justice Mishra.

At this, all the senior lawyers expressed their gratitude and said the matter must end here.

A day after the incident involving Sankaranarayan, the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record (AoR) Association had issued a resolution requesting Justice Mishra to be more patient while dealing with lawyers. Senior advocate and a former president of the SC Bar Association, Vikas Singh, had also written to the incumbent president of the Bar urging him to act.

Controversies have dogged Justice Mishra during his tenure in the Supreme Court.

The unprecedented press conference by four senior judges of the top court in January 2018 was also seen triggered due to some of the politically sensitive cases being assigned to Justice Mishra's bench. Subsequently, in some other important cases, there were requests for his recusal from the benches too.

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