High-stakes Adani group cases decided by SC during vacation, sans procedure: Dushyant Dave to CJI
Senior advocate and former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave Friday wrote to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi alleging that two legal matters concerning the Adani group of companies were listed for hearing recently without following due court procedure.
He said the cases had been listed during the summer vacations and were disposed of by the Supreme Court's vacation benches in violation of the court practices.
"What would happen if these cases were before independent benches? Would they take the same decision?" asked Dave in a conversation with BusinessToday.In. "Justice is the biggest casualty. Elected body SC Bar Association does not want to raise its voice because it wants to curry favour with the benches," he added.
The first case he cited was by Parsa Kente Collieries against the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (RRUVNL). This case was heard by Justices Mishra and Shah. Parsa Kente is a subsidiary of Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (RRUVNL) and a coal mining joint venture of Adani with RRUVNL.
Dave in his letter cited serious irregularities in the hearing of the first case by a two-judge bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice MR Shah on May 21 without it being ordered to be listed during the summer vacations or without any exigency in the matter.
"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," Dave alleged.
The second case mentioned in the letter by Dave was by Adani Power (Mundra) against the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission and others. He said that the matter was heard on May 24 by Justice Mishra and Shah, reserving the verdict in the same despite objections from the lawyers appearing for opposite parties.
"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 the 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 stated.
The senior advocate in his letter to CJI Gogoi also referred to the press conference by then Justice Gogoi and three other senior-most judges against former CJI Justice Deepak Mishra.
They had raised concerns over allotment of several sensitive cases before some specific benches. In the conference that was held in January 2018, Gogoi (now 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".