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Court Cuts: When Rajeev Dhavan clashed with an intervener yesterday...

Dhavan not impressed with this intervention but judges didn’t seem to mind
Dhavan not impressed with this intervention but judges didn’t seem to mind

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan was angrily objecting to the appearance of former IAS officer and intervener-in-person, SN Shukla, yesterday (12 April) during the morning hearing of case 20 before Supreme Court justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant in court 4.

Dhavan is the counsel for Uttar Pradesh Government, which is appealing against the judgment of the Allahabad high court’s Lucknow bench, which decided in favour of the noted PIL activist, Nutan Thakur.

Thakur, who is the respondent-in-person in this case before the Supreme Court, was conspicuous by her absence.

As Dhavan was trying to put the details of the case in a nutshell, Shukla, who was sitting next to him on the right, rose to make some observations.

Dhavan objected saying he had no locus to intervene in this case. Justice Misra, however, appeared sympathetic, and wanted to listen to Shukla.

Dhavan then told Shukla that he respected him, but he should maintain court discipline.

Dhavan said he respected Shukla personally because he happened to be the father-in-law of his friend, but he had no business to intervene in this case.

But Dhavan’s objections had no effect, as the bench allowed Shukla, who was listed as the intervener in the case, to speak.

Dhavan again objected, when Shukla wanted an early date as he had to come all the way from Lucknow for this case. Why do you have to come from Lucknow for this, you need not come, you have no locus in this case, why you are intervening, he asked.

Again, while the bench allowed Dhavan to give vent to his reservations over Shukla’s appearance in the matter, it did not stop Shukla from addressing the bench either.

Dhavan then told the bench that Nutan Thakur is an amazing lady, having filed hundreds of PILs, and her husband is a serving IPS officer, also with a bent of activism.

The bench just listened, without making any comments.

The bench then continued to listen to Shukla, who appeared unprovoked despite Dhavan’s interruptions, even as Dhavan was leaving the court, thinking that the hearing was over.

Nutan Thakur’s petition in the high court raised questions relating to the decision making process being adopted by the state Government in terms of the provisions contained in the Rules of Business framed by the Governor under Article 166(3) of the Constitution.

Article 166 provides for Conduct of Business of the Government of a State, according to which all executive actions of the State Government are to be expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor.

Nutan Thakur asked the high court for a mandamus to the chief minister to direct all the officials in the chief minister’s office to stop signing documents in the name of the CM, without proof substantiating their authority to do so.

She also wanted another mandamus to the chief minister to ensure that the actual signature of the CM was put on original files whenever it was said that the CM has seen the file or has approved a matter, so that it could be substantiated later and to avoid confusion and disputes.

The high court’s two judge bench, comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya, had referred the matter for consideration by a larger bench of the high court on on 28 May 2014. This judgement has been appealed against by the Uttar Pradesh Government in the Supreme Court.

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