The Supreme Court Friday pulled up a litigant for using intemperate and indecorous language against judges of the Bombay High court and the apex court for allegedly denying him justice in a property dispute.
A vacation bench of Supreme Court, headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi and comprising Justice C.K. Prasad, pulled up Anil Gulabdas Shah, who is a respondent in a petition filed by a construction company, for alleging that the judges were biased against him.
Shah escaped contempt of court proceedings by a whisker as the court eventually took a lenient view but not before reprimanding him.
Shah in a letter to Chief Justice of India had asked him that judges hearing his case should recuse themselves. He also suspected mischief by the counsel of the petitioner company.
Taking note of the aspersions cast by Shah on the judges and the advocate general of Maharashtra, Justice Singhvi said: ‘This has become too much. Unless we protect the members of the bar nothing would be left.’
Singhvi said that people have a peculiar notion of justice. If verdict was in their favour, they would feel justice has been done and if not then they would attribute all kinds of motives to those who dispense justice.
‘Nobody should be under the impression that he can do it (use intemperate and indecorous language) and get away with it,’ the apex court said.
Justice Singhvi told Shah who appeared in person that ‘we (judges) are more compassionate towards the petitioner-in-person than to lawyers.’
Shah further earned the displeasure of the court when he said that the state chief minister awarded the petitioner company the project for a consideration. Justice Prasad said: ‘You can’t use the platform of the court to abuse the chief minister. You are crossing the boundary line.’
Justice Singhvi said: ‘If somebody says you are corrupt how you will feel. Don’t try to think that you are the only Harish Chandra.’
In the instant case as part of the slum development scheme by the private builders and the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, a scheme was sanctioned for the development of an area of 50,000 sq. metre and for providing houses to slum dwellers.
On the said land, Shah had two plots totalling 1,200 sq. metre which he wanted to retain by not joining the scheme. There were three rounds of litigations each culminating in the Supreme Court.
In the first two rounds, things went against Shah. However, in the third round he succeeded in securing stay by the Bombay High Court. It was against this order that the petitioner company moved the apex court.
The apex court Friday asked the high court to hear the petition pending before it and dispose it latest by August-end.