Judge slams lawyers sullying court’s image
Mumbai: Two days after one of India’s seniormost advocates, Ram Jethmalani, called judges “sycophants”, a Bombay High Court judge hit back on Monday. “What sort of nonsense statements are being made from a public platform?” Justice P B Majmudar asked. “Do you think judges are sycophants?”
Rebuking the statement that judges grant adjournments, Justice Majmudar, who was sitting in a division bench with Justice Mridula Bhatkar, said he would not grant any more adjournments in cases. “We will go strictly by the law. No more adjournments will be given,” he said while declining to grant a four-week adjournment requested by a lawyer in a matter.
Senior advocate Jethmalani, while speaking at the state lawyers’ conference organized by the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa on the occasion of Law Day on November 26, said that the judiciary was responsible for adjournments. “Why do you (judges) adjourn when they (lawyers) ask for it? You also have become sycophants to maintain relations,” Jethmalani said.
The statement was the topic of discussion in the corridors of the High Court on Monday.Justice Majmudar took note of media reports of Jethmalani’s comments. “Lawyers are making public statements which affect the image of the judiciary. Senior advocates are tarnishing the image of judges by saying such things in public. It affects the public profile of the whole institution,” said the judge. “There should be some restraint (on lawyers making statements). From new entrants in the profession to advocates who are on the verge of retirement, everyone is indulging in it.”
The court also rapped the bar council. “It is for the bar council to consider about (sic) the kind of people they invite to deliver lectures,” said Justice Majmudar.
The judge said adjournments are given on a case-by-case basis. “Government is not ready with affidavits when cases are called out. We do not want the state to suffer and sometimes grant adjournments,” said Justice Majmudar. The judges took exception to the statement that senior counsels use their influence in seeking adjournments. “We go strictly by the law. We hope wiser counsel prevails,” said the judge.
The judge’s outburst came during the hearing of a bunch of petitions in connection with a dikhsa (renouncement)) ceremony granted to a minor girl to become a Jain sadhvi. A lawyer representing one of the parties sought a four-week adjournment. The court refused to adjourn the case and said it would come up for hearing on Tuesday.