NEW DELHI: Supreme Court judge Arun Mishra on Friday took a dig at those criticising him for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a recent conference, saying he had good things to say about many others but would refrain from doing so lest he is criticised again.
Justice Mishra’s observation came during hearing of a plea challenging SC-appointed monitoring committee’s decision to seal ‘Learning Tree’ play school near Khan Market in Delhi. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the school, contended that it was the only play school in Lutyens’ Delhi which has been running for 25 years and its closure would affect many children. He said no construction was done by the school which was run from tents.
The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, however, rejected the plea. At the end of the proceedings, Justice Mishra asked Singhvi, “Do you want to hear something good about you? I have some good words for you.”
When Singhvi replied that it would be an honour for him, a smiling Justice Mishra said, “But if I use good words for you then other people will blame me.”
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had on Wednesday condemned Justice Mishra’s praise for the PM and urged judges to maintain judicial independence by refraining from making such statements or show close proximity to the political executive. Mishra, who retires on September 2, had described Modi as an “internationally acclaimed visionary” and a “versatile genius who thinks globally and acts locally”.
Saying that it “expresses its strong reservations of the statement and condemns it strongly,” the SCBA resolution added, “the SCBA believes any such statement reflects poorly on independence of judiciary and so calls upon the judges not to make statements in future nor show any proximity or closeness to the executive, including higher functionaries”.
Justice Mishra and Singhvi also engaged in a humorous exchange on ‘Khan Market elite’ — a common refrain in the capital’s social circles. When the lawyer told the bench that the school was just across the road, the judge asked Singhvi whether he is also part of ‘Khan Market elite’. Singhvi said he never lived in Lutyens’ Delhi but won’t mind being called so. He said even judges visited the famed market for shopping, prompting Justice Mishra to add, “Do not bring judges into controversy.”’


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