Exuberance of some known and some not so known advocates-turned-PIL litigants to present their arguments against demonetisation left a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur exasperated on Friday.
Justice Thakur found lawyers, inexperienced in economic and financial issues, making the loudest arguments to drown the voices of former ministers and senior advocates P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal. Repeated warnings from the bench to maintain decorum fell on deaf ears.
Finding that knowledgeable voices were getting drowned in the cacophony, the CJI said, “You people think you know better than Chidambaram. You are not allowing him to speak. Despite this, he is awaiting his turn patiently. Learn something from him.”
This brought some sanity to the proceedings. But the CJI appeared peeved and said, “I have been a judge for the last 23 years. I have never seen such conduct of lawyers during arguments. It sounds like a fish market.” He went on, “I am having just one more week to sit on the bench before retirement. I don’t want to go out with such memories. This is the court of the Chief Justice of India, yet there is no decorum despite the issue being very sensitive.”
When Sibal continued his diatribe against the government and its post-demonetisation decisions resulting in cash crunch for citizens, a pro-BJP advocate said, “These politicians (Sibal, Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid were appearing against demonetisation) do not attend Parliament where the issue needs a debate. They bring their politics to the courtroom.” He further asked, “Can political persons be advocates and bring political objections to the courtroom?”
Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi took a potshot at CPM for filing a petition in the SC challenging demonetisation. “Can a party be a petitioner against fiscal policy? I have serious doubts about it,” he said.