[Suo moto contempt] Supreme Court Special Bench refused to hear Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, as his appointment as an Amicus was against Rule 10 of the Supreme Court.
[Suo moto contempt]
Supreme Court Special Bench refused to hear Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, as his appointment as an Amicus was against Rule 10 of the Supreme Court.
Special Bench of SC reserved the order on the issue as to recall application against order dated 04.05.2020 is maintainable or only review is maintainable.
The Application was filed against the order passed by the Registrar (Admin), who refused to register the recall Application observing that Review should be filed.
The objections taken by Respondent prevailed and the appearance of Siddharth Luthra is not shown in the order.
As per Rule 10 of ‘The Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, 1975’, the court hearing Contempt Petition can take assistance of either Attorney General or Solicitor General only. Private counsel like Siddharth Luthra cannot be appointed as an Amicus Curiae.
The illegality committed by earlier Bench of Justice (Retd.) Deepak Gupta is proved from the proceeding before the Bench headed by Justice L. Nageshwar Rao on 18.08.2020.
The Registrar (Admin) vide his order dated 07.08.2020, refused to register the Application under recall by observing that the review application should be filed.
Said order is challenged by Mr Rashid Khan being M.A. No. 1434 of 2020.
Adv. Partho Sarkar representing Rashid Khan, pointed out to the court that the recall is maintainable because the order dated 04.05.2020 was passed on wrong premise and without Jurisdiction and therefore application for recall is maintainable in view of law laid down in National Fertilizer Limited Vs. Tuncky (2013) 9 SCC 600, where Supreme Court recalled its own order passed for pronouncing conviction under contempt as it was based on the wrong premise and incorrect observation.
It was further pointed out that as per the judgment of SC in Delhi Administration v. Gurdip Singh Uban., reported as (2000) 7 SCC 296, which is relied by Registrar himself it is ruled that the decision as to Recall or review should be taken by the Court and Registrar cannot decide the legality of the application and that too unilaterally and without hearing and giving any opportunity to the Applicant.
He also took Reference from various Constitution Bench Judgement of Supreme Court and also recent Judgment in the case of New India Assurance 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1786.
In counter to this Adv. Siddharth Luthra wanted to argue as an Amicus Curiae. Mr. Sarkar wanted to object the very appearance of Mr. Luthra but due to network issue Mr. Sarkar was unable to connect, therefore he conveyed his objection through Respondent No. 3 Adv. Nilesh ojha that appointment of private Counsel Mr. Siddharth Luthra to assist the Court is against the ‘Rule 10’ of ‘The Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, 1975’, and therefore he shpuld not be allowed to argue. The Rule 10 permits only Attorney–General or Solicitor-General to appear and assist the Court in contempt proceedings before Supreme Cour. This has been followed by Constitution Bench in Subramanian Swamy Vs. Arun Shourie (2014)12 SCC 344, Re: C.S. Karnan (2017) 2 SCC 757 (1) and in Re: Prashant Bhushan 2020 SCC ON Line SC 646. Since Mr. Siddharth Luthra is not an Attorney General, he cannot assist the court. Justice Nageshwar Rao accepted the objection and refused to entertain Adv. Siddharth Luthra. Even in the order uploaded, the appearance Adv. Siddhartha Luthra is not shown.
Shri Rashid Khan Pathan, in a letter addressed to Dy. Registrar (Section XVII) Secretary General of Supreme Court, requested that, the video link of the hearing of the case shall not be provided to Mr. Siddharth Luthra for future hearing of the case.
It was further requested by Mr. Rashid Khan that, no fee of appearance be given to Mr. Siddharth Luthra, if paid then it should be recovered as he is disqualified and incompetent to be an Amicus in Criminal Contempt Proceedings. And making payments to incompetent and undeserving person amounts to misappropriation of public funds.
The WhatsApp group created by Supreme Court Registry clearly shows that Mr. Luthra made specific request for marking is appearance alongwith junior advocates. But the order does not reflect his name.
Recently , Adv. Harish salve who was appointed as an Amicus Curiae discontinued from the case, in the 11 year old case of Amicus Curiae vs. Prashant Bhushan, on the same ground that his appointment was against ‘Rule 10’ of ‘The Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court, 1975’. On 17.08.2020 Solicitor General of India, Adv. Tushar Mehta appeared to assist the Court.
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