Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh said on Monday that the outgoing CJI Dipak Misra was a victim of certain circumstances and it was used by some lawyers to the detriment of the institution.
Speaking at a farewell function organised by the SCBA for the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Singh said, "It was unfortunate that Justice Misra became a victim of certain circumstances."
"It is more unfortunate that instead of the bar, especially the mature bar trying to support the cause of justice, trying to support the institution, some of us tried to use that adverse circumstance to the detriment of this institution," he said.
Singh said if the situation had been allowed to continue and if the bar had not stepped into support Misra, an "irreparable damage would have been caused to the institution (Supreme Court)".
On a earlier controversy over cases related to the Medical Council of India and some medical colleges, in which Singh was one of the counsels, he said the purpose of the open letter written by him as SCBA president was not to support CJI Misra, but to bring the truth before the nation and ensure the majesty of the Supreme Court was not eroded.
"There was an allegation doing the rounds. Papers were also carrying it with regard to a particular matter. I was the president of the bar, but also counsel for the MCI against whom that order was supposed to be sought to be obtained," the SCBA chief said.
Singh said these allegations were made by different people, some in very high positions, but nobody took his view because ultimately an order was to be passed. It was to be passed against my client, he said.
"An order dictated in an open court was said to be changed later on at the behest of some people. When similar orders had been passed in eight different matters, the very same day, a three-judge bench review could have been done only by the three judges together.
"It was also doubted whether the order was dictated in an open court or not and that was also part of the allegations," he said in the presence of Misra and CJI-designate Ranjan Gogoi.
Singh said as counsel for the MCI and not as the president of the bar, he felt that it was his duty to see to it that this institution was not damaged.
He said, as the counsel for the MCI, "I thought it fit to write an open letter to all the judges and also to the media bringing out true facts".
"The purpose of writing that letter was not to help Justice Misra. I didn't even know him personally except for meetings as president of the SCBA," Singh said.
The SCBA president said, "The purpose of the letter was to bring the truth before the nation and to ensure that the majesty of this institution has, the very special position that this institution has in this country is not in any manner eroded".
The faith of the people in this institution should not ever be such that they start doubting it, he said.
"The freedom that we have got, the democratic values we cherish can only remain true if this institution is not damaged," Singh said.
He said the Supreme Court always functions in division benches even before a chief justice takes an oath, unfortunately, in this city, there will be people wanting to negotiate for every judge in this squad.
"There are people ready to sell by showing all kinds of things. Somebody will show that I know so-and-so, I know this relative that relative. We as an institution have to be very particular," he cautioned.
Disapproving a recent letter written by the chairman of the Bar Council of India, requesting justice Misra to not accept any post after retirement, Singh said, "I don't agree with that letter."
"I feel that a judge should not take a political appointment like that of a governor or should not contest an election on a ticket of political party," he said.
"But definitely as the attorney general has pointed out that the wisdom that a judge has gathered over the years, the dispensation of justice that he had done for so many years, the experience can't be lost," Singh added.
Commenting on the retirement age, Singh said 65 years as it was today was too young an age for anybody to retire.
"So, if Justice Misra can be used for any work where his legal acumen can be utilised, I think that should happen because the system should not lose somebody so bright and so humble and so hardworking," he said.