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Fresh senior Gopal Sankaranarayanan ‘retorts’, walks out of SC consti bench after Justice threatens certain contempt conviction

Young and recently minted senior counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan walked out of a constitution bench hearing on land acquisition after the Supreme Court’s Justice Arun Mishra chastised him for making “repetitive” arguments that had already been made by senior counsel Shyam Divan earlier, as reported by News18 yesterday:

As Sankaranarayanan asked the bench if he could argue his point once he advances submissions on Section 24, Justice Mishra said, “Are you retorting? Are you retorting to us? How dare you?"

“Don’t say a word anymore,” Justice Mishra further told Sankaranarayanan. “One more word and I will not only issue contempt against you but will also ensure you are convicted.”

At this, Sankaranarayanan shut his files and walked out of the court room.

Sankaranarayanan later commented to News18: “I would not wish to argue in an atmosphere which would lower the dignity of the court. I would not wish to say anything more.”

Update 14:20: As pointed out in a comment below, Sankaranarayanan (and Divan) had both previously requested Mishra’s recusal for having ruled in the Indore Development Authority case, which is being considered before this Constitution Bench.

Update 16:02: Bar & Bench has reported that apparently the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) has come out in a resolution reminding Mishra to be a “little more patient in dealing with lawyers”, while Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), senior advocate Vikas Singh wrote in a letter that: “Terrorising lawyers under the threat of contempt and not allowing them to argue under that threat undermines the very fundamentals of the justice delivery system.”

Thanks to several readers for sharing.

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