Every SC judge is 'very experienced': CJI tells lawyer, reprimands him for complaining about another judge

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) "Every judge of the Supreme Court is very experienced," Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud told a lawyer on Tuesday while admonishing him for complaining about another apex court judge.

Advocate Ashok Pandey, who got an unfavourable order from a bench headed by Justice BR Gavai, had rushed to the CJI's courtroom claiming he was threatened with cancellation of his advocate's licence.

Visibly unimpressed with the allegation, the CJI said, "This court has no intra-court appeal. If you are aggrieved by an order of this court, you have a remedy of review petition. Every judge of this court is very experienced and they have decades of experience as lawyers as well." Pandey said he appeared as a petitioner in-person in his PILs and was slapped with fines by earlier orders.

"I was only asking for the recall of the order imposing fine but instead the judge asked me to go out of the courtroom and even threatened that my licence will be cancelled," he told the bench which also comprised Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

Exasperated by his remonstration, Chandrachud told Pandey, "I have been hearing you for a while and now I am beginning to lose my patience. I can understand what would happen in other courts. You please seek remedy as per the law." Pandey remonstrated, yet again, and asked the court how will the public interest litigation system work if a PIL petitioner in-person is penalised by the court for filing petitions.

The CJI tried to convince the advocate and said sometimes matters do escalate in courts and result in heated exchange between judges and the parties but the judges of the apex court are seasoned and know how to deal with such situations. Pandey was earlier in the day rebuked by two courts, including a bench headed by Justice Abhay S Oka.

The Justice Oka-led bench rapped Pandey for not depositing costs of Rs 50,000 imposed on him for filing a "meritless" plea and directed him to submit the amount within two weeks.

The bench, also comprising Justice Augustine George Masih, rejected Pandey's request for more time to deposit the money.

"You are a practising lawyer and despite your assurance to the court to pay Rs 50,000 cost, you did not pay the money and thereafter went abroad. Now you cannot say that you can't pay the cost. You pay the cost or we will issue contempt notice against you," the bench warned him.

The lawyer said he has not got any case since 2023 and his trip abroad was sponsored by his children. The bench refused to accept his excuse and directed him to submit the amount.

The top court had on January 2, 2023 dismissed with costs of Rs 50,000 his plea seeking a direction to not consider advocates practising in the apex court for judgeship of high courts, calling it "meritless" and a "complete wastage of judicial time".

It had observed that there was nothing in the Constitution which prohibited lawyers practising in the top court from being appointed as high court judges.

Pandey had told the bench that according to his interpretation of Article 217 of the Constitution, a person who may have been enrolled with a state bar council and subsequently shifted practice to the apex court was ineligible to be appointed as a judge of that court.

Article 217 of the Constitution deals with appointment and conditions of the office of a judge of the high court.

Later, another bench of Justices B R Gavai and K V Viswanathan slammed Pandey for not depositing a fine of Rs 1 lakh imposed on him when he had challenged the restoration of Lok Sabha membership of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi was disqualified in March 2023 following his conviction in a defamation case. His Lok Sabha membership was restored after his conviction was stayed by the apex court. PTI MNL SJK MNL SK SK

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