New Delhi: Some recent incidents of senior lawyers trying to outshout each other and allegedly attempting to browbeat judges during high-profile hearings on Thursday irked the Supreme Court, which said shouting will "not be tolerated at any cost".
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which was hearing a legal question whether a Parsi woman loses her religious identity after marrying a man of different religion, was upset over the growing incidents of senior lawyers arguing on a high pitch in cases like the Babri Masjid title suit and the Delhi-Centre disputes.
"What happened yesterday (in Delhi-Centre case) was atrocious and what happened a day before (in Ayodhya case) was more atrocious," the bench, which also comprised Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said.
Day before yesterday, several senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan and Dushyant Dave had made high- pitched arguments in the Ayodhya case seeking adjournment of the hearing till July 2019 and some of them had even threatened to walk out.
In the Delhi-Centre dispute hearing, Dhavan had yesterday made some submissions which was not appreciated by the bench.
"Come what may, shouting in the courtroom will not be tolerated at any cost," the CJI observed today.
"Lawyers are traditionally called ministers of justice. Unfortunately, a small group of lawyers think they can raise their voice...Argue with authority and conviction. Raising your voice just shows inadequacy and incompetence," the CJI said, adding that some senior members of the Bar have been indulging in high pitch arguments.
The court said, "when lawyers argue in a manner not in tune with the constitutional language, we will tolerate it but for how long? If the Bar does not regulate itself, we will be compelled to regulate".
The court's observations came after senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who was appearing in the Parsi conversion matter, raised the issue of lawyers shouting in the court.
He said that the tendency of shouting by senior advocates was getting acute and lawyers should must exercise restraint and show respect to the judicial institution.