July 07, 2020

SC junks plea on ‘favouritism’ by Registry, imposes Rs. 100 as cost

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


The Supreme Court on July 6 dismissed a petition filed by a lawyer to seek a direction to its Secretary General and the Registry to “stop giving preference to cases filed by influential lawyers and law firms and not to discriminate against ordinary lawyers”. The Court imposed a token cost of Rs. 100 on the lawyer.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra heard the plea filed by Reepak Kansal who claimed the Supreme Court authorities favoured influential lawyers and discriminated against ordinary lawyers in connection with the listing of matters for hearing.

At one point in time while hearing the petition, Justice Mishra asked Kansal: “Why are you making such irresponsible comments?”

The Court told Kansal that the officials concerned were working day and night for the benefit of lawyers, yet such comments had become a trend.

On June 19, the Top Court had reserved its order on the matter. Kansal had earlier cited the urgent listing of a plea filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, while his plea filed days before Goswami’s took much longer to be listed.

The Supreme Court had noted that the petitioner was unnecessarily dragging Goswami’s case into the matter. “Why are you saying such nonsense?” remarked the Court.

Kansal contended in his plea that there was a violation of Fundamental Rights of litigants/ordinary lawyers/members of SCBA as guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.

“No equal treatment is given to ordinary petitioner/lawyer by the Registry of this court. There is no procedure followed by the Registry, i.e., filing of application for urgent hearing or letter etc, which was necessary for the urgent listing of the cases during the nationwide lockdown”, the plea argued.

The lawyer contended that it was impossible for the litigants to pay more court fee or printing charges as illegally demanded by the Registry.

“There is no system to return the excess court fee/charges taken by the Registry. The Supreme Court Bar Association has also got various complaints against the mal-functioning of the Registry. Therefore, a circular was issued by the SCBA on May 29 in this regard,” the plea added.

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