The President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Dushyant Dave, has written a letter to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court, strongly protesting the hearing granted to Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of Republic TV for the special leave application that has been filed by him. Calling it ‘extraordinary urgent listing’, Dushyant Dave has condemned the listing of the case, even as Arnab Goswami spends his 7th night in jail today for a case that was re-opened unilaterally by the Mumbai Police without the consent of the court, simply to settle scores with the journalist.
Dave has written against “selective listing” of matters by the SC Registry, especially during the pandemic where an influential man’s petition listed within a day.
Dave wrote, “I have nothing personal against Mr Goswami and I am not writing this letter to anyway interfere in with his rights to move the Supreme Court. Like all Citizens, he also has the right to seek justice from the highest court. The serious issue here is a selective listing of matters that the Registry under your leadership is indulging in for the last eight months during Covid pandemic. While thousands of Citizens remain in jails, languishing for long periods while their matters Tled before the Hon’ble Supreme Court are not getting listed for weeks and months, it is, to say the least, deeply disturbing as to how and why every time Mr Goswami approaches the Supreme Court, his matter gets listed instantly.”
Further, he wrote, “Likes of Shri Goswami get special treatment while ordinary Indians are made to suffer, including Imprisonment, which are many times illegal and unauthorised. Even someone like Mr P Chidambaram, a respected Senior Advocate, could not get similar speed listing and had to spend long months in jail till finally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court declares that he deserved to be Bailed out.”
Calling it a ‘gross abuse of administrative power’, Dave further wrote, “It is quite well known that such extraordinarily urgent listings of matters cannot and does not take place without specific orders from Hon’ble the Chief Justice. Or is it that as the Administrative Head you or the Registrar listing is giving special preference to Shri Goswami?”.
Why Dushyant Dave is being hypocritical
While the Lutyen’s cabal has remained conspicuously silent after weeks of hounding of Arnab Goswami and Republic TV by a vindictive state government, Dave’s letter only seems to be a desperate attempt to ensure that the unilateral state persecution of Arnab Goswami continues while making extremely hypocritical statements.
Dushyant Dave seems to have taken exception to the fact that Arnab Goswami’s hearing has been listen within a day of him filing the petition and claims that the urgent listing is an abuse of power. He seems to be targeting not only Arnab Goswami but also his lawyer Harish Salve when he says that influential people represented by big lawyers get their hearings listed. He further insinuates some sort of influence that either Goswami or Salve could have had on the Chief Justice of India when he says that it is common knowledge that such cases do not get listed without the express instruction of the CJI.
However, in his unhinged letter, Dave seems to forget some crucial points.
It is not the first time that an urgent hearing has been listen by the Supreme Court. Dave seems to be taking an exception to it simple because the petition is that of Arnab Goswami who has been languishing in jail for a week for a frivolous case that was closed in 2019.
Perhaps it would be pertinent to ask Mr 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 Due for anticipatory relief – this, when Dua was not even in jail.
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 in 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. During the #MeToo movement, Vinod Dua was accused of stalking and sexually harassing a filmmaker.
Vinod Dua had approached the apex court just a day before on Saturday asking for protection from coercive action, including arrest and sought the top court to take up his matter on an urgent basis as the case was related to the personal liberty of a person.
In addition to the quashing of FIR, Dua had also asked the apex court to issue a direction that FIRs against media persons with at least 10 years’ of experience should not be filed unless cleared by a committee constituted by every state government comprising the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court or a judge designated by him, the leader of the opposition and the home minister of the state.
“State governments who do not find a particular telecast to be in sync with their political ideologies register FIRs against persons of the media to harass and intimidate them so that they succumb to the line of the state or else face the music,” the petition stated.
If Dua’s case can be taken up urgently on a Sunday because it was a matter of his personal liberty, when he was not even in jail, why can’t Arnab Goswami’s, who has been in jail for the past 7 days clearly due to the vindictiveness of the Maharashtra state government that seems to be using its state machinery to quell personal scores? The question that must be asked here is why Dushyant Dave had not written such a scathing letter when Dua’s personal liberty was made an issue? Why is he suddenly so concerned about the functioning of the SC, which has certainly been a usual course of business for several cases?
It almost appears as though Mr Dushyant Dave with his letter, wants the hearing delayed so Arnab Goswami continues to languish in the jail, as the state government continues to snatch his personal liberty.
It would certainly appear as though the personal liberty of individual matters far more when his political ideology is one that sits well with certain people than those whose views are contrarian to their own.
Why SCBA wanted Dushyant Dave removed from the post of President and how it proves that his letter protesting hearing granted to Arnab Goswami is a product of his ideology
In February 2020, the SCBA had passed a resolution that had condemned Justice Mishra for making a statement in support of PM Modi. The statement had said, “The SCBA believes that the Independence of the Judiciary is the basic structure under the Constitution of India and that such independence be preserved in letter and spirit. The SCBA believes that any such statement reflects poorly on the Independence of the judiciary and so calls upon the Hon’ble Judges not to make statements in future nor show any proximity or closeness to the Executive including Higher Functionaries.”
Members of the SCBA had condemned the resolution even then. 11 members had written a letter to the SCBA Secretary in the first week of March demanding the resignation of Dushyant Dave. “We the undersigned members of this esteemed SCBA were taken aback by the mischievous act of passing the above-said resolution dated February 26 at the behest of President of SCBA showing as if the resolution has the accent and consent of the entire SCBA, when the fact remains that no Executive Committee meeting was convened despite the request of the Secretary and other members of Executive Committee to discuss this issue in the Executive Committee meeting,” the letter stated.
Thereafter, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Secretary Ashok Arora had called for the removal of senior advocate Dushyant Dave from the post of president of the organisation and also from the primary membership of it, LiveLaw had reported. An “extraordinary meeting” was also called by the SCBA secretary regarding the same. The removal of Dushyant Dave was sought in connection with the resolution passed by the association in February condemning Justice Mishra for his remarks praising Prime Minister Modi.
Justice Mishra had called Narendra Modi a “versatile genius who thinks globally and act locally” in his speech delivering the vote of thanks during the inaugural ceremony of the International Judges Conference on February 22, 2020. Dushyant Dave has called the move demanding his ouster “illegal and improper”.
It is rather evident that Dushyant Dave does have an ideology that and the letter today condemning the hearing granted to Arnab Goswami is also a product of that very ideology.