Advocate Prashant Bhushan Writes to SC Registry, Alleges Irregularities in Listing of UAPA cases
Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan. Image Courtesy: PTI
New Delhi: In continuation of the growing concerns regarding the listing of cases in the Supreme Court, advocate Prashant Bhushan has written a letter to the registrar expressing worries about the apparent arbitrary assignment of cases to Justice Bela M. Trivedi's bench. This comes on the heels of a letter from senior advocate Dushyant Dave to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, raising similar concerns.
A report published in Article 14 brought attention to the issue, noting, "An analysis of eight politically sensitive cases shows they were moved to Justice Bela M Trivedi of the Supreme Court over the past four months, even though the rules of assignment say they should remain with the senior judge or before a judge hearing a similar case."
Bhushan specifically raised apprehensions about a batch of cases challenging Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) cases being presented before Justice Trivedi. The cases mentioned challenge the invocation of UAPA against journalists and lawyers with regard to their fact-finding report on the Tripura riots.
In a previous appearance on November 29, Bhushan had orally requested the matter to be heard by the appropriate bench, as reported by Livelaw.
The senior advocate has requested the Registry to pass “appropriate” orders after taking order from the CJI to “rectify the error” in listing the mentioned cases before the next date of hearing on January 10, 2024.
The issue of case listing and alleged protocol violations was also highlighted in Dushyant Dave's letter to CJI Chandrachud. Dave pointed out, "Matters listed before Court No. 2, 4, 6, 7, amongst others, have been shifted out and listed before other Hon’ble Benches in clear disregard of the Rules." He further expressed concerns about seniority being ignored in the process.
In response to the mounting concerns, the Supreme Court Bar Association has also written to CJI Chandrachud, expressing "full faith and confidence in the neutrality and unprecedented administrative skill" of the Chief Justice. The letter, signed by the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Adish C. Aggarwala, commended the Chief Justice for streamlining administrative issues since assuming office.
"The Bar has full faith and reposes full confidence in the neutrality and unprecedented administrative skill of Your Lordship and other Hon’ble companion Judges as a result of which the administration of justice. It is for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court that the last person standing in the queue has also been given equal and full access to justice," the letter stated, according to the Times of India.
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