Did Sahara lawyers get their way finally?

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on May 19, 2014

The judges in their 240-page order, said they were intimidated by the company’s lawyers, who wanted them to recuse.

When one of the two Supreme Court judges hearing the bail petition of Sahara Group supreme Subroto Roy recused himself from the case this week, there was probably much more to it than meets the eye.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan retired this week and Justice J.S. Khehar recused himself. Both made scathing comments and criticised Sahara group’s five lawyers of conscious snubs against the judges, bench hopping (avoiding), continuous adjournments and every other trick.

The judges in their 240-page order, said they were intimidated by the company’s lawyers, who wanted them to recuse. In their order, the justices lambasted senior advocates Ram Jethmalani, Rajeev Dhawan, Rakesh Dwivedi, S Ganesh and Ravi Shankar Prasad for “arm-twisting the bench”.

The bench, hearing Sahara Group’s writ petition challenging the detention of Roy, mentions the senior counsels’ lack of decorum in the first 10 pages itself. In the order, which remanded Roy to Tihar Jail, Justice Khehar was of the view that senior counsel Ram Jethmalani’s submissions before the bench was intimidating in nature.

Roy has been remanded to judicial custody since March 4, 2014, for not heeding court orders to refund investors and for not complying with the contempt proceedings initiated by market regulator SEBI.

“He (referring to Jethmalani) sought liberty to make a frank and candid submission. He told us, that it would be embarrassing for him, to canvass the submissions, which he is bound to raise before us. It was also his submission, that hearing this matter would also discomfort and embarrass us as well and therefore suggested, that we should recuse ourselves from hearing the case, and require it to be heard by another composition, not including either of us,” Justice Khehar wrote in the order.

He summarised how the counsels were confident of getting a judgement in their favour and said the bench would “feel embarrassed and humiliated to modify an earlier order”, which according to the Sahara counsels, was a “mistake”.

Sounding sarcastic, the order said Jethmalani seemed to not like the bench as he had earlier mentioned it should not hear the matter, because “his client” had apprehensions of prejudice.

The order also derided Counsel Rajeev Dhawan, who came out with all guns blazing, in support of Jethmalani, for his behaviour saying that the manner in which Dhawan had addressed the Court, sounded like an insinuation.

He also mentioned that Arvind Datar, senior counsel appearing for the respondents, was equally surprised to find that never in his entire professional career had he witnessed such a case, which was being “settled” by five well-known senior counsels.

Published on May 19, 2014
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