Senior advocate Dushyant Dave has written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice Ranjan Gogoi alleging that matters related to the Adani group of companies had been listed out of turn for hearing during summer vacations and disposed of by the vacation benches of the Supreme Court in contravention of court practices.
Listing out two such cases, Dave stated that the Bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M R Shah heard one such case on May 21 without the matter having been ordered to be listed during the summer vacations by any regular bench or without there being any urgency in the matter whatsoever.
In contravention to the procedures, the case was present in the list of cases to be heard during vacations, with an unusual remark in May, Dave has alleged. “It is unclear if the matter falls within guidelines and norms approved by the CJI. But one thing is clear it was not a matter which was directed to be listed during summer vacations 2019 as per directions of the court,” he alleged.
The first case Dave referred to was moved by Parsa Kenta Collieries against the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (RRUVNL). The case was heard by a two-judge Bench of Justices Mishra and Shah. Paras Kante is a coal mining joint venture of Adani with RRUVNL.
In an emailed response, an Adani Enterprises spokesperson cited the contents of the letter as “misconceived and malicious statements against the Honorable Apex court and our company” without proper verification.
“The arbitration matter was in the list of vacation matters and came for hearing in normal course. It was as per the procedure prescribed for listing in vacation. It was prescribed that arbitration matters which require to be adjudicated expeditiously can be listed with consent of parties to the case, which was done,” said the spokesperson, adding: “Mr Dave had in this matter himself appeared for us before Honorable Rajasthan High Court.”
The second case mentioned by Dave was moved by Adani Power (Mundra) against the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission and others. Despite requests from respondent advocates to not take up the matter, Dave alleged the matter was heard on May 24 by Justice Mishra and Shah and the verdict reserved in the same. “I am told that the total benefit to this corporate client from these two judgments will run into thousands of crores,” the senior advocate said.
“Both these matters were listed, taken up and heard without any justification and in a hurry and in an improper manner. As a result, besides causing grave injury to public interest and public revenue, it has caused immense damage to the image of the Supreme Court. It is disturbing that the SC should take up regular matters of a large corporate house during the vacation in such a cavalier fashion and decide them in its favour,” Dave said.
The Adani spokesperson said the matter was listed pursuant to application for urgent hearing after due notice to the opposite side. “Thus, requisite procedure was strictly followed for listing the matters in vacation. The insinuations made regarding other matters are wholly unwarranted.” he said.
In his letter to CJI Gogoi, Dave also made reference to the press conference by Justice Gogoi and three other the then sitting judges against former CJI Justice Deepak Misra. In the said conference of January 2018, CJI and other judges had alleged that “cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution and cases involving political overtones have been assigned to the benches of “preference” without any rationale or basis for such assignment”.