New Delhi: A heated exchange took place between Supreme Court judge Arun Mishra and senior lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan at a Constitution Bench hearing on Tuesday of land acquisition cases.
Tempers ran high as Justice Mishra warned the senior counsel of contempt after repeatedly asking him to shut up.
The high-voltage drama unfolded as Sankaranarayanan stood up to argue on behalf of one of the parties in the bunch of cases relating to the interpretation of a few provisions in the Land Acquisition Act.
Justice Mishra found the arguments "repetitive" and pointed out that most of the submissions being advanced by Sankaranarayanan had already been argued by senior advocate Shyam Divan and others.
Even as Sankaranarayanan sought an opportunity and some liberty to shape up his submissions, Justice Mishra remained unrelenting, asking him not to repeat anything and approach a particular provision in the law.
As Sankaranarayanan asked the bench if he could argue his point once he advances submissions on Section 24, Justice Mishra said, “Are you retorting? Are you retorting to us? How dare you?"
“Don't say a word anymore,” Justice Mishra further told Sankaranarayanan. “One more word and I will not only issue contempt against you but will also ensure you are convicted.”
At this, Sankaranarayanan shut his files and walked out of the court room.
When CNN-News18 contacted the senior advocate, he said, “I would not wish to argue in an atmosphere which would lower the dignity of the court. I would not wish to say anything more.”
Apart from Divan, Sankaranarayanan, incidentally, happens to be the other lawyer who had sought recusal of Justice Mishra in this case on the ground that the judge could be predisposed to the issues placed before the bench.
The objection stems from the fact that Justice Mishra was the presiding judge in the Indore Development Authority case, which is one of the decisions being re-examined by the current five-judge bench.