Kaam Ki Baat: Selective approach of Supreme Court in Arnab’s case

Ankit Kumar
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supreme court

An effort to understand the urgent listing of Supreme Court in Arnab’s case


 

The Supreme Court of India faced a lot of criticism after Arnab’s Goswami’s plea was listed the very next day after it was filed. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court on the account of personal liberty.

Dushyant Dave, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and senior Advocate wrote a strongly worded letter to the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court questioning the matter in which Arnab’s plea was listed the very next after it was filed.

Dushyant Dave questioned whether there was a special direction from the CJI, SA Bobde himself to list the petition of the Republic TV Anchor urgently.

What is the matter?

Arnab Goswami had approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning or November 10 against a November 9 order of Bombay High Court denying him interim bail in the suicide abetment case of designer Anvay Malik and his mother Kumud Naik. The petition was immediately listed for hearing before a 2-judge bench of Justice DFY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee.

Dushyant Dave in his letter also questioned the registrar if he gave preferential treatment to the journalist without Chief Justice of India’s knowledge.

According to the registry of the Supreme Court, Arnab’s petition had nine ‘defects’, including the fact that vakalatnama was unsigned. In normal circumstances, the court does not list a petition before a bench until the defects are cured.

Dave cited in his letter that thousands of people have been stuck in jail for months as their matters are not being listed before the court and lodged a strong protest against the listing of Goswami’s case in such a short time. The letter said that selective listing is a serious issue and every time Arnab Goswami approaches the top court, his matter gets listed instantly.

It is to be noted that Dushyant Dave didn’t want to rid Arnab Goswami of his rights to move to the SC. He just wanted to raise a concern that someone is getting special treatment while many advocates are waiting for their matters to be listed for weeks and months. P Chidambaram, former Home Minister of India, spent many months in jail as his bail petition languished before the court.

 

Read more: Should we do something to effect Real Change in India?

Does Supreme court give special treatment to certain lawyers?

Arnab’s case got diary number and got listed within a day. It gives the impression that the apex court gives special treatment to certain lawyers. It also a raise a question that why urgent matters filed before the November 10 were not heard before the Arnab’s plea.?

It is good that our judiciary system, which is mostly late, listed the plea in such a short time, but the question is why Arnab’s plea only? Because he is an influential person and has contacts with the people in power. Everyone, who is a citizen of India has equal rights so no one should be given special treatment. There are many people who are made to suffer, including imprisonment, which are many times unauthorized and illegal. Shouldn’t there be a full proof system which is fair and just to all citizens and all advocates?

We need to know if the CJI had any role to play in this matter as such listing is difficult to take place without specific orders from the Chief Justice of India.

Dave wrote in his letter that while some lawyers get an instant listing, many have to wait in queue for a long time, sometimes against the same judgement being appealed against. He questioned the selective listing by asking why it is happening if the system is supposedly computerised and works automatically? He called the selective listing a “gross abuse of administrative power.”

The Republic TV Anchor was arrested on November 4 by Raigad Police in connection with the suicide of an interior designer. He was sent to judicial custody for 14 days and was kept at Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai.

Dave in his letter requests the secretary-general to install a foolproof system which ensures urgent listing on well-known principles.

After Dave’s letter to Secretary-General, Arnab’s wife – Samyabrata Ray Goswami, Senior Executive Editor of Republic TV, also wrote to the Secretary-General of the apex court of India and called the letter of Dushyant Dave a “malicious attempt” to cause prejudice of the hearing of Arnab’s petition by his selective outrage.

Ajay Vikram Singh, an advocate at the supreme court said, “There was nothing wrong with the urgent listing of Arnab’a case. There are technicalities that one needs to know. Arnab had a good lawyer who knew the technicality so he got an urgent hearing. I think we should not criticize the Supreme Court for it as it was working within the rules rather, we should have complete faith in these institutions.”

Advocate Shashank Kumar, a Delhi High Court advocate said, “Both common and influential people have the right to justice. Questions must be answered. In the Arnab Manoranjan Goswami case, the Supreme Court has granted bail discarding the opinion of the High court but in Siddique Kappan case the Supreme Court has asked the petitioner to withdraw the petition and approach the High court.”

“For rich and influential people, the Supreme court has opened even at night, but in some cases, it has refused to list the matter for years. A case for default in the registry has been listed after two and a half years. A film star got the judgement of the trial court state just within 10 minutes of the pronouncement of the judgement. In the very recent Siddique Kappan (Malayalam Journalist) case, the Supreme Court has told that it will discourage Article 32 petitions,” he added.

 

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Other similar instances

Arnab Goswami is not the only one to benefit from having a big advocate. Earlier, Prashant Bhushan’s (a lawyer) review of the Supreme Court order in the Contempt of Court matter had been listed under urgent hearing. Vinod Dua’s (journalist) plea seeking protection from arrest was also listed early.

Arnab was given special treatment by Supreme court earlier too. The journalist was seeking protection from FIRs registered against him in various parts of India for a programme where he had implied that minority were responsible for the lynching of three men in Palghar, Maharashtra. Goswami’s petition was filed at 8 pm and it got listed for the next morning at 10:30 am.

The special treatment to Arnab Goswami not only fuels the belief that one needs to be VIP to get instant treatment. There are hundreds of citizens who are jailed under various politically motivated cases. Why they don’t get an urgent listing? Is it because they are normal citizens and do not have ties with people in power? Isn’t the apex court supposed to be equal for everyone?

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