A day after Supreme Court advocate Dushyant Dave wrote to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court protesting against the ‘preferential’ hearing granted to Arnab Goswami by the apex Court, questions are being raised on the integrity of the senior Supreme Court lawyer after it was revealed that Dave himself is one of the biggest beneficiaries of such ‘urgent hearings’.
On Tuesday, Dave, who is the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association had written a letter to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court, strongly protesting against the urgent hearing granted to Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of Republic TV under the special leave application that was filed by him.
Calling it ‘extraordinary urgent listing’, Dushyant Dave had condemned the listing of the case, even as Arnab Goswami is spending his seventh day in jail in Mumbai in a case that was unilaterally re-opened by the Mumbai Police without the consent of the court.
In his letter, Dave has written against “selective listing” of matters by the SC Registry and had gone to the extent of calling it as a ‘gross abuse of administrative power’.
Ironically, the letter to the Supreme Court written by Dave lamenting about the urgent listing of Arnab Goswami’s case has displayed his own hypocrisy as there are various instances to show that not only Dave has been granted similar urgent hearings by the Supreme Court in the past but also exposes how the senior advocate had no problem when such urgent hearings were granted by the Supreme Court to his ideological compatriots.
Urgent hearing granted to Dushyant Dave by the Supreme Court
Interestingly, there are two cases in which Dushyant Dave was a direct beneficiary of such urgent hearings in the Supreme Court.
First, in August 2018, a petition was filed by self-proclaimed historian Romila Thapar seeking an interim measure to some of the arrested Urban Naxals in the Bhima Koregaon case. The petition was filed and listed on the same day. Incidentally, Dave was one of the lawyers who had represented Thapar in the top court.
A group of ’eminent’ persons, including historian Romila Thapar, had moved the Supreme Court with public interest litigation on August 28, questioning the arrests of the alleged Urban Naxals and seeking an independent investigation into the case. The Supreme Court of India bench comprising of the then Chief Justice Dipak Mishar had heard the case on the same day it was listed.
Dave’s petition on behalf of Prashant Bhushan was heard the next day by the Supreme Court
Again, in April 2020, Prashant Bhushan had approached the Supreme Court in connection with a case filed by Gujarat police against him for hurting religious sentiments of the Hindus.
The petition filed by Prashant Bhushan was listed on April 30, 2020, and was given an urgent hearing on the next day on May 1. Interestingly, Dushyant Dave, who is now lamenting about the court granting an urgent hearing to Arnab Goswami, had pleaded before the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the FIR lodged against the activist lawyer.
Dushyant Dave, who had managed to get an ‘urgent hearing’ from the Supreme Court just a few months back, is now accusing the same judiciary of carrying out gross abuse of administrative power.
Further, it is not the first time that an urgent hearing has been listed by the Supreme Court to which Dave seems to be taking an exception.
The Supreme Court had opened its doors on Sunday in June 2020 to hear a petition filed by controversial journalist Vinod Dua seeking quashing of a sedition case filed against him by the Himachal Pradesh Police over a YouTube show. In a special hearing, a Supreme Court bench of justices UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran held special proceedings at 11 AM on Sunday. Vinod Dua had approached the apex court just a day before on Saturday asking for protection from coercive action.
However, the likes of Dushyant Dave had no problem whatsoever then. Perhaps it would be pertinent to ask Dave why he did not write a similar letter when a Supreme Court bench assembled on a Sunday to hear the petition moved by Vinod Dua for anticipatory relief – this, when Dua was not even in jail.
Arnab Goswami moves to Supreme Court
The Supreme Court will be hearing the interim bail plea of Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on Wednesday. Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami had moved Supreme Court after the Bombay High Court dismissed his petition for interim bail in 2018 abetment to suicide case on Monday.
The petition has been filed by Arnab’s lawyer on Tuesday. The case will come for hearing before a two-judge bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Indira Bannerjee.