The Supreme Court today said the attempts of senior apex court lawyers to file multiple petitions, demanding them to be listed before a particular bench and seeking recusal of a judge, tantamounted to "forum hunting" which needs to be deprecated strongly. Sounding a word of caution, the top court said that the good sense prevail over the legal fraternity and as lot of uncalled for damage has been made to the great Institution in which public reposes their faith. A bench of Justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar, deprecated the attempts made by lawyers and termed them as "forum shopping" and "unethical". "We deprecate the conduct of forum hunting, that too involving senior lawyer of this Court. Such conduct tantamounts to wholly unethical, unwarranted and, nothing but forum hunting", it said. The top court expressed displeasure while rejecting the petition filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, seeking an SIT probe into an alleged case of bribery in the name of judges. The court said filing of identically worded similar petitions by the same set of counsels in two consecutive days and demanding it to be listed before Court-2, where the petitions were mentioned for urgent listing, "clearly amounted to forum hunting." "There was absolutely no urgency in the matter to make the mention again by filing the petition on November 9 itself.
They wanted the matter not to be heard by another bench of this Court presided by Justice A K Sikri," the top court said. The bench said even if a petition could have been filed in his own right by a member of an organisation, there could still not have been any forum hunting in the method and manner it has been done to "create ripples" in the apex court. The apex court said it was not proper to request Court-2 of Justice J Chelameswar to take up the matter when the other matter filed by the organisation was coming up on November 10, before another bench headed by Justice A K Sikri. The bench also expressed displeasure over conflict of interest allegation made by Jaiswal that CJI should not exercise his powers either on judicial side by hearing the case or administrative side by allocating the case to a particular bench. "Such things cannot be ignored and recusal of a Judge cannot be asked on the ground of conflict of interest, it would be the saddest day for the judicial system of this country to ignore such aspects on the unfounded allegations and materials," the bench said. The court said "it appears that in order to achieve this end, the particular request has been made by filing successive petitions day after the other and prayer was made to avoid the Chief Justice of India to exercise the power for allocation of cases which was clearly an attempt at forum hunting and has to be deprecated in the strongest possible words." It said that making such "scandalous remarks" also tantamount to "interfering with administration of justice" and an advocate cannot escape the responsibility. Similarly, the bench also deprecated the attempt of senior lawyers of apex court for seeking recusal of Justice A M Khanwilkar from the bench saying he heard the medical college matter. "This is nothing but another attempt of forum hunting which cannot be permitted. Rather this kind of prayer was held to be contemptuous ," the bench added.