Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Dushyant Dave on Wednesday wrote to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde expressing his disappointment for not being invited to speak at the farewell of Justice Arun Kumar Mishra.
"As President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, I wish to place on record my strong disappointment and condemnation at what happened earlier today in the Supreme Court of India during the farewell to Justice Arun Mishra," Dave said in the letter.
The senior lawyer said that the Supreme Court has come to "such levels where the Judges are afraid of the Bar" and added that "judges come and go" but highlighted the bar remain constant.
"We are the real strength of this great Institution because we are permanent. I must say, I am personally deeply saddened by this events and will never again participate in any function being organised by the Supreme Court till my term is over in December," Dave said pointing out that he was expecting to be invited to speak on the farewell event but wasn't.
Justice Arun Kumar Mishra, who took over as a Supreme Court judge back in the year 2014, retired from the apex court earlier today. The farewell, which held through video conferencing, was addressed by CJI Bobde, Justice Mishra, Attorney General KK Venugopal, and others.
He said that he joined the Ceremonial Bench of the Chief Justice of India for the farewell at around 12:20 pm and was confirmed by the team saying video and audio were perfect.
"I then had conversations with the AG, the SG, President SCORA, amongst others. Once the court assembled, I saw and heard all the proceedings clearly. At the end Rohtagi bid farewell. After Court work, Venugopal was requested to speak and I saw and heard him fully including as to his disappointment on the punishment of Prashant Bhushan," he added.
"When he ended, I thought that I will be requested to speak, instead Jadhav was requested knowing full well I was present. For some unknown reasons, I was being disconnected again and again but I persisted and rejoined each time. I saw and heard Jadhav fully and at the end of his address again I was not requested to speak though Jadhav has acknowledged my presence in his address," he added.
Realizing the "game plan", Dave said he exited the conference in the larger interests of the dignity of the Bar and himself.
"But what is most important is that I messaged the Secretary-General on Whatsapp at 12:49 and again at 12:53 asking why I was kept on mute and why was I at all invited. Only at 1:02 he responded saying he is instructing Registrar to look into it, by which time it was too late and so I messaged him informing that I had exited," he said.
Dave said that this was an affront to the Bar and to him personally and mentioned in the letter what he was going to speak at the farewell of Justice Mishra.
"While you may have done so fearing that I might say something unpleasant, let me tell you exactly what I was to say which I had written down, 'My Lord the Chief Justice, May I have permission to say few words on behalf of the SCBA and the EC on the retirement of Justice Arun Mishra?' And upon your permission, I was to say, 'On behalf of the SCBA, the EC, and Myself, I wish you Justice Mishra happiness and bliss in the remainder of your long life which by all accounts will be as fruitful and rewarding as it has been. May I pray to Lord Mahabaleshwar to bless you with the strength to introspect and stir up your Conscience." he said.