Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Kapil Sibal has expressed his displeasure over some of the recent judgements passed by the Supreme Court saying he has "no hope left" in the institution.
"If you think you will get relief from Supreme Court, you are hugely mistaken. And I am saying this after completing 50 years of practising in the Supreme Court," Sibal said.
Even if a landmark judgement is passed by the apex court, it hardly ever changes the ground reality, he added.
"This year I will complete 50 years of practising in the Supreme Court and after 50 years I feel I have no hopes from the institution. You talk about progressive judgements delivered by the Supreme Court but there is huge difference of what happens at the ground level. Supreme Court gave judgement on privacy and ED officers come to your home... Where is your privacy?" said Sibal.
He also said that "sensitive cases" are assigned to only select judges and the legal fraternity usually knows beforehand what would be the outcome of the judgment.
Sibal was speaking at a People's Tribunal which was organized on Saturday here in Delhi on the "Judicial Rollback of Civil Liberties" by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the National Alliance of People's movements (NAPM).
Meanwhile, Sibal's remarks on Supreme Court and judiciary have created a huge controversy, with the Bar Council of India and All India Bar Association condemning them. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has also slammed the Rajya Sabha MP for his comments.
The Bar Council of India:
Talking to news agency ANI, Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, Chairman Bar Council of India (BCI) said it was unfortunate that such remarks were made by Sibal, who is a former law minister.
He said, "It is very unfortunate that Kapil Sibal has passed such a remark. Kapil Sibal is a stalwart in the legal field and also a former Law Minister of the country. Losing 2-3 important cases doesn't mean one has the right to target the judiciary. Judiciary is a free and independent institution. It should not be attacked."
"If you are taking weak cases and later lose them in Court of law, you can't blame judges and judiciary," he added.
All India Bar Association:
All India Bar Association (AIBA) through a press statement has termed the statement of Sibal as "contemptuous".
Dr Adish C Aggarwala, senior Advocate and Chairman of AIBA said, "Courts decide cases by applying the law to the facts presented by cases before them. They owe allegiance to the Constitution and none else."
Dr Aggarwala, who is former Vice Chairman of Bar Council of India and Supreme Court Bar Association said, "Criminal cases which were instituted by the then Governments as a political witch-hunt, where detailed investigations have been carried out but failed to disclose any evidence, had to be given a burial and if that has happened, no fault can be found with the judicial system. Courts are not to deliver judgments hanging people just to assuage the feelings of a certain community."
"A robust system is insulated from sentiments and is influenced only by the law. Kapil Sibal is a seasoned senior advocate. It does not behove him to decry judges and judgments just because the courts did not agree with his or his colleagues' submissions. It has become a trend that when a case is decided against someone, that person starts denouncing judges on social media alleging that the judge is biased or the judicial system has failed. This is wholly contemptuous and coming from someone of the standing of Kapil Sibal who was also President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, it is unfortunate too. If cases have not been decided to the liking of Kapil Sibal, it does not mean that the judicial system has failed," said Dr Aggarwala.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju:
Kiren Rijiju slammed Sibal for his criticism of the Supreme Court, saying it was "very very sad for the entire country" that opposition leaders start attacking constitutional authorities when their judgments do not favour them.
"Statement made by Kapil Sibal is in line with his existing mindset. For Congress & like-minded people, Courts/constitutional authorities must favour them or work as per their interest, or else they start attacking constitutional authorities themselves," said Rijiju.
"It is sad that prominent leaders & parties are criticising constitutional authorities & agencies. These agencies are absolutely autonomous," he added.