“This Association deprecates the conduct of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India making such obsequious remarks about the head of the Executive, and believes that they are both improper and unnecessary,” a resolution passed by the Bombay Bar Association said. The resolution was passed with a majority during a meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking at the International Judicial Conference on February 22, Mishra described Modi as an “internationally acclaimed visionary”, and praised his “versatile genius to think globally and act locally”. Mishra is the third most senior judge in the Supreme Court.
“The Union of India is one of the biggest litigants, if not the biggest, and it is imperative that the Judiciary is and appears to be objective in its approach to the members of the Executive, both within and outside the courtroom,” the resolution said. “Comments of this nature shakes the confidence of the members of the legal profession and the public at large in the independence and integrity of the Higher Judiciary.”
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The resolution added that it was “particularly regrettable” that such remarks were made at an international event in the presence of “senior Cabinet ministers such as the law minister, former and current judges of the Supreme Court of India and visiting members of the international legal community”.
The association added that it was in agreement with various members of the legal community “who have expressed their dismay and condemnation” of the judge’s remarks.
The Supreme Court Bar Association late last month appeared divided on a statement it had earlier released to the media expressing concern about Justice Mishra’s praise for Modi. The Bar Association of India had expressed concern too, but the Bar Council of India chairperson dismissed the criticism as an example of “myopic mindset”.
The Bombay Bar Association’s resolution referred specifically to Bar Council of India Chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra’s statement against the Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave.
“The Association condemns and disowns the remarks of the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Mr Manan Mishra who defended the remarks of Justice Mishra and deemed the criticism of such remarks as “myopic”, particularly given his position as the Chairman of the regulatory body for the legal profession,” the resolution added.
Manan Mishra had alleged that Dave had tried to drag Justice Mishra in an “undesirable and unsavoury” controversy, called the criticism an act of “myopic mindset” and said the judge’s speech was “in the capacity of a host and he used best of words for all the guests who graced the occasion”.