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Dave under fire: RamJet won’t be party to confrontation with SC; PP Rao urges respect; Aggarwala dares Dave to strike [UPDATE-1]

Ram Jethmalani: "I regret that at least I cannot be party to it"
Ram Jethmalani: "I regret that at least I cannot be party to it"
Update: Several senior Supreme Court advocates have criticised Dave’s proposal of following “Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of Non-Cooperation” for Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) members to boycott official functions that include Supreme Court judges, such as Law Day and Independence Day celebrations, as well as ceremonies commemorating late or retiring judges.

Read Dave’s full proposal here.

The SCBA is to meet tomorrow (Wednesday).

Dave did not respond to an email seeking comment.

RamJet to Dave: Ill-advised & almost contemptuous confrontation with judges

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani has questioned Dave’s methods (see letter left).

Jethmalani wrote in a letter dated 5 July:

“Prima facie the circular seems to be somewhat ill-advised and almost a contemptuous confrontation with the Judiciary. This is the time when our judiciary needs to be strengthened by full cooperation of the bar and I regret that at least I cannot be party to it”.

In a follow-up letter about “reconstitution of the Supreme Court Rule making Committee”, Jethmalani added: “I am totally indifferent to your move, which however I consider improper and unnecessary.”

PP Rao

PP Rao email to Dave (click to enlarge)
PP Rao email to Dave (click to enlarge)
Senior advocate PP Rao has joined the chorus against Dave, noting in an email dated 6 July 2015 (see left):

I appreciate the resolve of the Executive Committee of SCBA to fight for the rights of its members and to help them to assist the Court more efficiently and effectively. It is a matter of concern that the expected response is not forthcoming from the authorities to the representations made by the Association on matters of common concern.

Rao wrote that he supported the draft resolution of the SCBA to file a writ to ensure that infrastructure available to the members of the bar was improved. However, he added that the proposed resolution to boycott all Supreme Court functions should be reconsidered:

The Bar and the Ben are two co-ordinate institutions, often compared to the two wheels of a chariot, which acting together facilitate administration of justice to the people. Institutional courtesy and traditional respect for each other should be maintained at all costs.

Grievances against individual Judges, if any, should not be projected as grievances against the Court in which the lawyers practice. Individual Judges and lawyers come and go, but the Bench and the Bar will go on forever.

Citing lawyers’ professional conduct rules, Rao noted that the SCBA should be “a role model to others in the matter of observing the traditional courtesies and maintaining traditional respect towards the Bench”.

He then set out reasons for why:

1) not attending full court references for deceased judges would insult the memory of departed Judges, for no fault of theirs,

2) boycotting Independence Day celebrations would be improper,

3) not taking part in Law Day events would boycott a function that is the bar’s own function,

4) not going to judges’ farewells would be improper, even if someone “felt that a particular Judge did not deserve the honour” because persons who hold judicial office deserved “respect”.

Dave responded to Rao with a letter stating:

You have been the Leader of this great Bar and of all the persons, you know the acute needs of the Bar in terms of basic infrastructural facilities. I truly wish that instead of reminding us of our duties and obligations, which I humbly submit are totally irrelevant, you Sir, had reminded the Hon'ble Chief Justice and the Court officials of their duties and obligations towards the Bar and it's Members. Your stature is such that you could have easily prevailed upon them to see the harsh reality in absence of decent facilities. You have and can meet the Hon'ble Chief Justice to bring about Just solution to this vexed problem.

You have been kept informed of each of these burning issues, including Designation of Seniors by the Court. I too have discussed them with you and you have always kindly offered me your ear and advise. So what prevented you Sir to do it this time for the Bar? Instead of this wise counsel to us, you could have picked up the phone and talked to the Hon'ble Chief Justice to sort out the issues. So why did you not, is very perplexing.

Afterall, you also feel for the Bar and would desire to help it, I would assume. I must put it on record that many Senior Advocates met me in last two days and some of them advised me to avoid confrontation with Judiciary. But I regret to inform that not one of them offered to use his or her good offices to resolve the impasse by offering to tell the Hon'ble Chief Justice to be kind to the Bar and offer the facilities. Why this approach I wonder?

I also have no quarrel with Hon'ble CJI, nor other Hon'ble Judges and certainly have no "personal scores "to settle. I must say I enjoy affection and warmth from each of them and I respect each of them too from the bottom of my heart. But as the President, I owe a lot to the distinguished Members of the Bar and I intend to fulfill my commitments to them fully, without fear and favour.

I, therefore, sincerely appeal to you Sir, to see the matter from the perspectives of this vast multitude of the Bar and not from the prism of a Senior alone. I respect you a lot and I know you have lot of regards for me too. Sir, please lend me and my Executive Committee your strength and stature in this avoidable, but forced upon Struggle of the Bar.

Arun Kumar, Supreme Court’s additional advocate general, Haryana

Kumar said in a letter written with advocate BK Choudhary:

the whole contents and tenor of these two circulars reveal that Mr Dave … wants to set his personal score with [the CJI…] We the members of the Highest Bar of the Country can not allow our Executive Committee under chairmanship of Mr Dave to indulge in this anti-national activities under the garb of serving the interest of members of SCBA.

Friends, we may have grievances and annoyances from the competent authority of our national institution but the anger and vested interest can not be allowed to target our National Sovereignty, integrity and National Pride. Our National Festivals like Republic Day and Independence Day can not be boycotted and no body can be allowed to show disrespect to such national celebrations.

‘If you really have the guts’ then go on strike, Aggarwala dares Dave: Dislike of Chief Dattu makes ‘fools’ of SCBA


Senior advocate Adish Aggarwala has alleged a personal vendetta on the part of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president senior advocate Dushyant Dave, as the motivation for Dave’s proposing that SCBA members boycott Supreme Court judges’ farewells and other functions this year in an SCBA general meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).

Aggarwala has written a letter to Dave, copying in the SC’s DCP, challenging Dave to go on strike, if he “really [has] the guts”, till the SC meets the bar’s demands as detailed in Dave’s explanatory note calling for the boycott. He suggests this in place of “trying to make fool of the learned members of this Bar” by boycotting the SC’s law day and independence day celebrations in addition to judges’ farewells until 2 December 2015.

Arguing that there is no basis for selecting 2 December as the date for ending the boycott, Aggarwala points out that out of the current roster only chief justice of India HL Dattu retires on that date. He has alleged that Dave is motivated by his “personal enmity with the Chief Justice of India” because the CJI “is treating every lawyer on equal footing”, and that Dave is “bent upon to spoil the cordial relationship between the Bench and Bar by trying to adopt such biased resolution as enumerated in the Notice [dated 3 July]”.

In the 3 July notice the SCBA had called for its annual general body meeting to be held tomorrow in the SC’s Plaza canteen at 3pm, to resolve to boycott judges’ functions in the SC until 2 December or until its “genuine demands” for “facilities” for SC lawyers and their clients and staff are not met, and to also resolve to file a writ to press for the demands if the need arises.

Aggarwala has objected to the choice of venue as well, asking for a change to a venue which can accommodate at least 2000 humans, because there are over 16,00 SCBA members’ names in the SCBA voters list for this year. He writes that the Plaza canteen has a capacity of no more than 200, and this choice of venue is also a tactic to hold a “farcical” meeting “so that only very few persons can attend and most of the members are deprived of a say in the matter”.

Aggarwala has also cited SCBA rules to demand that the notice of the Annual General Meeting before its held tomorrow, be shared by post with the complete list of SCBA members eligible to attend, and decisions be taken only by secret ballot.

He also names some of “[Dave’s] supporters and [Aggarwala’s] opponents” as having sent him messages opposing Dave’s call for boycott and reproduces one message as follows: “We should oppose the colourable agendas of President, SCBA to settle personal score with CJI at GBM. He is exploiting general sentiment of members against judiciary. His move of Boycotting INDEPENDENCE DAY AND LAW DAY to attain his personal rift wt CJI is disregard to Constitution - Birendra Kumar Choudhary and Arun Kumar.”

Aggarwala concludes by warning Dave to “please note if you are holding meeting as per law, your proposal will be rejected by 90% voters”.

Aggarwala was fighting in the SCBA presidential election in which Dave got voted in as president.

Adish Aggarwala letter to Dushyant Dave (PDF)
Adish Aggarwala letter to Dushyant Dave (Text)

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