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SC brickbats: ‘Hysterical’ Jaising says ‘historical’ Jethmalani should face criminal contempt as RamJet scuffles with Gopal Subramanium

India Jaisingh: Knows history when she sees it
India Jaisingh: Knows history when she sees it
Supreme Court Insider: Verbal explosives were hurled across the aisle during the Sohrabuddin fake encounter hearing in the Supreme Court of India today between additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani and former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium.

Jaising told the court that Jethmalani should be charged with “criminal contempt” for submitting a brief which cast aspersions on Justice Tarun Chatterjee, who at one point was a suspect in the Ghaziabad providend fund (PF) scam.

Chatterjee was being probed by the CBI in the PF scam, when he passed the order to have the Sohrabuddin case transferred from the Gujarat state police to the CBI.

Jethmalani, who is representing Gujarat home minister Amit Shah and previously spoke of a “conspiracy hatched at the highest levels” to destabilise the Gujarat government, today again alleged that Chatterjee transferred the case to CBI under pressure from a CBI investigation into himself. (The investigating agency eventually closed the case against Chatterjee on the grounds that there was not enough prosecutable evidence.)

At this juncture Jaising, appearing for the central government, said that Jethmalani was liable for contempt. Jethmalani, an old warhorse with enough tricks in his bag since joining the bar more than 70 years ago, said Jaising was being “hysterical”.

Jaising, quick off the mark and not short of bar experience herself, called Jethmalani “historical”.

Apparently not satisfied after having called a judge's character into question, Jethmalani then trained his sights on former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, who was appointed as amicus curiae in the case.

He said Subramanium's appointment was not proper since he was a serving law officer at the time. This court had not looked into the manner of appointing an amicus, said Jethmalani.

But before Jethmalani could continue, the bench asked Subramanium to start his arguments. Distracted from the script by Jethmalani's remarks, the former solicitor general diverged from the main issues before the court to justify that his appointment was proper.

Three former attorneys general had served as amicus before this court said Subramanium, naming names no lesser than MC Setalvad, CK Dapthary and Niren De.

After all advocates’ egos were strategically bruised before the bench, the court finally heard some submissions on the serious issue of alleged fake encounter killings by the Gujarat police.

Supreme Court Insider lives, works and plays in the Supreme Court and its corridors.

Insider’s apex court colleague is Court Witness who writes Supreme Court Postcards also tweets at @courtwitness1.

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