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Court Cuts: ‘Bloody’ makes Chandrachud J experience ‘lowest point in SC history’ • Misra J talks amicus Vibhishana • Gopal likens Sibal to Marc Antony

Gopal Subramanium invokes Mark Antony after Chandrachud J experiences ‘lowest point in modern history of SC’
Gopal Subramanium invokes Mark Antony after Chandrachud J experiences ‘lowest point in modern history of SC’

The hearing of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reform case before Justice Dipak Misra-led bench this afternoon in Supreme Court room number 2, as expected, did not lead to any tangible outcome.

The curtains are still not down on the controversy over the composition of the committee of administrators in place of the previous administration, which was sacked by the Court on 2 January. The bench, which included justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, decided that it would invite more sealed covers with suggestions of who could be administrators, and scheduled one more hearing on 30 January.

But the bench did not lose the opportunity to go off on tangents on a number of occasions, if only to relieve the tension between rival counsel.

It all started when senior counsel, Vikas Singh wanted to argue but was denied the opportunity by the bench, because of what he had said at the last hearing on 20 January.

A slip of the tongue by him that day - he had used the word ‘bloody’ - had apparently irritated Justice Chandrachud to such a degree that he could not digest it even today.

When Vikas Singh had said ‘bloody’, he had immediately apologised for it, even before others could point it out.

But Justice Chandrachud expressed his displeasure on the 20th, and today he went further and noted “it was the lowest point in the history of the modern Supreme Court”.

To this, Vikas Singh complained today that Justice Chandrachud was so pained by his slip of the tongue, that the judge did not want to hear him any more.

Just at that point, Justice Dipak Misra, allowed another advocate, VK Biju, to make submissions in favour of the Lodha committee recommendations. Misra told Biju that the bench was hearing him, because he was maintaining decorum.

In an obvious reference to Vikas Singh, Misra said that once you utter a word, you don’t have control over black humour, and added a few more synonyms like it, and asked: “Shall I go on?”

Misra then stopped, finding the court not prepared to continue to hear him on this.

But that did not stop Misra from asking the question of who the first amicus in the case was. Promptly answering his a rhetorical question himself, Misra said the first Amicus was Vibhishana, who had cautioned his brother, King Ravana, not to confine Hanuman in Lanka, instantly making everyone laugh.

Then came the turn of actual amicus, Gopal Subramanium, who described Kapil Sibal (who was appearing for state associations) as Mark Antony, of Julius Cesar (real life and the Shakespeare play) fame.

When Misra asked why he had described Sibal as the Roman statesman, Subramanium said he did so, because of his “silver tongue”.

Sensing an opportunity, Misra could not resist again undertaking a brief detour into literature, and also Shakespeare.

Misra’s strategy of again going off on a tangent in the middle of a serious discussion appeared to have achieved its purpose, with both Sibal and attorney general Mukul Rohatgi agreeing with Misra that whether they win or lose, consistency of behaviour and decorum are the pillars of the court’s tradition, and they would defend it, whatever the outcome in this case.

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