November 21, 2018

Supreme Court is not a platform for anyone to express anything and get away


The controversial CBI vs CBI case has been on the limelight for the past few days. Now, it seems that the case has taken an annoying position, with the recent issue of the alleged leak of CBI Director Alok Kumar Verma's confidential response to the Central Vigilance Commission's (CVC) findings on corruption charges against him.

Irked by this, on November 20, a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and Justice KM Joseph said, "We do not think any of you deserve a hearing".

The bench added, "The Supreme Court is not a platform for anyone to express anything and get away. This is a place for adjudication of legal rights. We intend to set it right."

The bench then notified that it will not allow the court to be used as a platform for settling personal, professional, or political scores.

The bench took note of newspaper reports which mentioned DIG Manish Kumar Sinha's application leveling unverified allegations as well as a web portal which published purported portions of Verma's response to the CVC's inquiry report. Notably, the bench was annoyed as it had ordered to maintain strict confidentiality of both and to keep them in a sealed cover.

Disappointed by this, the bench stated, "This (the web portal report publishing Verma's response) is for you to read Mr Nariman, not as a counsel for Verma. We are not giving it to any party but you as you are the most senior and most respected member of the bar. Please help us by suggesting how to proceed with this case."

Thereafter, Justice Kaul said, "The court had adopted sealed-cover proceedings with the purpose of protecting the respect and dignity of the institution of CBI. But see what is going on."

Then, Justice Nariman said, "It must be a free as well as a responsible press. I am disturbed by what you (the bench) have shown to me. Everyone is snooping on the other one."

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, "We had repeatedly expressed that the highest level of confidentiality must be maintained. But look at this litigant, who goes out and distributes it to everyone. What is happening? Our efforts to maintain the respect and dignity of the institution (CBI) are, unfortunately, not shared by others."

The CJI thus concluded, "We don't think any of you deserve any hearing" and then adjourned the hearing to a later date.

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