SC terms Patiala House Court scuffle as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’

NEW DELHI(PTI): The Supreme Court on Thursday termed as “extraordinary circumstances” the violence in the Patiala House courts and rejected a lawyer’s contention that exceptional importance was being given to one case which would demoralise lower judiciary and police.

The court also decided to hear a petition on Friday seeking apex-court monitored inquiry into all incidents including violence that erupted after the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar.

Justifying the rushing of a senior team of lawyers to Patiala House court complex, a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said “Something extraordinary has happened and that called for such a step.” They made the observation when lawyer R P Luthra, seeking to intervene, submitted that the apex court should either change the procedural law or allow the lower judiciary to decide cases as per law.

“There is a well calculated design to terrorise the subordinate judiciary and the authorities and my issue is simple that the lower judiciary be allowed to function as per law,” Luthra said.

He also referred to the setting up of a panel of lawyers to take stock of the ground situation at the Patiala House Courts and also questioned the silence of some high-profile and activist lawyers on issues like Malda violence.

“Don’t bring all this,” the bench said, asking him to keep away politics. However, he did not stop and said when sometime back, the high court was locked, nobody bothered to bring it to the notice of the apex court. He claimed that “some selective group decides that a particular situation is alarming and it is considered as alarming.”

At the fag end of the hearing, senior lawyer Raju Ramachandran and advocate Vrinda Grover opposed Luthra’s plea seeking copies of the fresh petitions filed by Kanhaiya and others on the ground that he has no “locus” in the matter. The bench then intervened and asked the lawyers to give the copies to Luthra as well.

Earlier during the day, Luthra mentioned the matter before the bench alleging that Delhi Police was being pressurised not to oppose the bail application of Kumar.

The court then said that people should be careful while issuing statements. “We are keeping an eye on law and order situation in Patiala House court. Everyone should be careful while giving statements,” it said.

Meanwhile, the bench agreed to give urgent hearing to a plea by senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, representing a member of Kumar’s defence, for court-monitored SIT probe. He submitted that advocate Subhash Chandran was the member of the defence team and Delhi Police has refused to lodge an FIR on his complaint.