Appointments & TransfersNews

Justice Arun Kumar Mishra, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, has joined as the new Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India.

Justice Arun Mishra the 8th Chairperson of the NHRC, India.

Background

He was born on 3rd September 1955. After completing B.Sc. M.A. L.L.B. joined the Bar in 1978 and practised in constitutional, civil, industrial, service and criminal matters.

He was elected as the youngest Chairman of the Bar Council of India in 1998 and particularly focused on the improvement of legal education. During his Chairmanship, the Bar Council of India decided to close the evening Law Colleges and also decided that 5-year Law Course should be started instead of 3 years Course in all the colleges. More than two hundred sub-standard law colleges were closed by the BCI. Also, amount of medical aid to lawyers was enhanced.

He was instrumental in the drafting and implementation of Foreign Law Degree Recognition Rules of 1997 under Advocates Act, 1961; Bar Council of India Employees Service Rules,1996 and Rules pertaining to Foreign Lawyers Conditions of Practice in India.

He was appointed Judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh on 25th October 1999 and appointed as the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court on 26th November 2010 and held the office till his appointment as the Chief Justice of the High Court at Calcutta on 14th December 2012.

Justice Mishra was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 7th July 2014 and held the position till his superannuation on 2nd September 2020. During his tenure as a Supreme Court Judge, he delivered 236 judgements. Out of this 199 were in two Judges Bench,32 in three Judges Bench and 5 in five Judges Bench.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 02-06-2021]

Fact ChecksNews

Screenshots of a tweet by a journalist has been doing the rounds on social media that the Supreme Court Bar Association headed by president Dushyant Dave has passed a resolution not to give farewell to Arun Mishra, J. when he retires on September 2. Along with the screenshot of the tweet, a pdf titled ‘Proposed Resolution of SCBA’ is also circulating. The pdf states that the executive committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association has resolved not to hold any farewell for Justice Mishra upon his retirement. Two points have been mentioned in the pdf which state that he was extremely unpleasant to the members of the Bar and have misbehaved with him on several occasions and that all important matters of the government where assigned to him, and  therefore other judges were relegated to an inferior position. The note ends with the statement that Justice Mishra had caused immense damage to the Supreme Court as an institution and that the Bar registers its protest by not giving any farewell to Justice Mishra. The points can be read in detail in the pdf image given below. 

Now let us test the veracity of the claims in the pdf. We checked the official website of the Supreme Court Bar Association and found that there is a notification published there which states that circulating pdf with respect to the statement tissued by the Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association on the issue of Farewell to Hon’ble Mr. Justice Arun Mishra on his retirement next month is false. The  notification further states that no such statement had been issued by the Executive Committee and that in fact this matter had not been considered by the EC in any meeting. The Press release being attributed to the EC was not genuine and is strongly denied by Mr Dave on behalf of the EC. Mr Dave strongly condemned the same as being mischievous and an attempt to malign the SCBA. 

The notification uploaded on the SCBA website can be seen below:

Therefore, we can safely say that the circulating message is false and no resolution has been passed by the SCBA to not give a farewell to Justice Mishra.

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: Two days after a senior lawyer walked out of his courtroom when warned of contempt, Justice Arun Mishra on Thursday said “arrogance” should go
from some members of the bar, otherwise, it will become very difficult for the judiciary to perform its functions.

“Arrogance should go from some members of the bar otherwise how will the judiciary perform its functions,”

The remarks were made by Justice Mishra after the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association on Wednesday passed a resolution requesting him to be “a little
more patient in dealing with lawyers.”

Without referring to any particular incident or individual, Justice Mishra said as part of normal practice in his life,

“If anyone is hurt, even an animal or tree I am ready for an apology. In a real sense, I apologise to any living creature if I had caused harm to anyone.”

In reference to the incident where the lawyer walked out of his court, Justice Mishra said he was warned of contempt as he was making comments related to the conduct of the judiciary and taking names of his seniors. He was not asked to stop or not to argue and just told that if he made such remarks again, contempt would be drawn against him.

The Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association had, in the resolution, said,

“Several members of the bar have repeatedly been raising such grievance about the unwarranted treatment and passing personal remarks by Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra. We request Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra to be little more patient in dealing with lawyers,”

It further added that the duty to maintain dignity and decorum of the Court is cast upon both lawyers and judges.

Appointments & TransfersNews

S.O. 4319(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3A of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (39 of 1987) read with Rule 10 of the National Legal Services Authority Rules, 1995, the Central Authority hereby nominates Mr. Justice Arun Mishra, Judge, Supreme Court of India, as Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee with immediate effect and makes the following amendments in its Notification No. S.O.115(E) dated 09.02.2000, namely:-

In the said Notification, for the serial number (1) and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be substituted namely:-

1. “MR. JUSTICE ARUN MISHRA – CHAIRMAN”
Judge, Supreme Court of India.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 29-11-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court:

“I would be committing a grave blunder by recusal in the circumstances, on the grounds prayed for, and posterity will not forgive me down the line for setting a bad precedent. It is only for the interest of the judiciary (which is supreme) and the system (which is nulli secundus) that has compelled me not to recuse.”

These were the closing words of a rather lengthy judgment that Justice Arun Mishra wrote announcing that he will not be recusing from the matter relating to the interpretation of a provision of the Land Acquisition Act.

Justice Mishra, whose recusal was sought by some land associations on the grounds that he heads a Bench meant to re-examine a judgment that he had himself given in 2018, said that recusal is not to be forced by any litigant to choose a Bench. It is for the Judge to decide to recuse. if he recuses, it will be a dereliction of duty, injustice to the system, and to other Judges who are or to adorn the Bench/es in the future.

Senior Advocates Shyam Divan, Dinesh Dwivedi and Gopal Sankarnarayanan, appearing on behalf of the Land Associations argued that the correctness of the opinion cannot be judged by the Constitution Bench independently, as a final view has been expressed in Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra, (2018) 3 SCC 412 wherein the decision in Pune Municipal Corporation v. Harakchand Misirimal Solanki, (2014) 3 SCC 183 has been held to be per incuriam. Thus, Justice Mishra, who has decided the matter in Indore Development Authority, is pre­disposed to decide the matter only in a particular way.

Noticing that there are umpteen occasions as mentioned above when Judges have overruled their own view, Justice Mishra said,

 “There may not be even one Judge in this Court who has not taken a view one way or the other concerning Section 24 of the Act of 2013, either in this Court or in the High Court. If the submission is accepted, no Judge will have the power to decide such a matter on the judicial side.”

A Judge who had rendered any decision in a smaller combination is not disqualified from being part of a larger Bench when a reference is made to the larger bench. Rather, it is a consistent practice prevailing in various High Courts as well as of this Court to include the same Judge/Judges in larger Benches.

“The rule provides that a Judge who referred a case has to sit on the larger Bench to consider the reference. In the present case also, the reference has been made by me and my recusal has been sought.”

The Senior Advocates also submitted before the Court that they may feel embarrassed in arguing   a proposition of law which has been dealt with in the Indore Development Authority elaborately. On this Justice Mishra wrote,

“given that arguments on recusal, spilling for over a day, could be made vociferously, in a belligerent fashion and with utmost ability, the submission that the learned counsel would feel diffident in arguing a proposition of law on merits, is difficult to accept.”

He said that the lawyers have compelled this Court time and again to change its views and to refine the law. This Court is known for not a particular view but for refining the law and that has been done with the help, ability and legal ingenuity of the lawyers to convince this Court with aplomb to correct its view. That is how the process goes on as the entire system exists for the people of this country.

He further added that if recusal is made, it would tantamount to giving room to unscrupulous litigant to have a Judge of their choice who can share the views which are to be canvassed by them. The plea cannot be termed anything other than Bench hunting, if it is said that until and unless the one which suits a litigant is found the matters are not to be argued.

Justice Mishra is heading the 5-judge Constitution bench also consisting of Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M R Shah and S Ravindra Bhat, JJ. The other members of the Bench, writing down a separate order said,

“the view of Mishra, J, to reject the application for recusal, is not a matter that can be commented upon by us.”

They, hence, held,

“we concur with his reasoning and conclusions that no legal principle or norm bars his participation in the present Bench which is to hear the reference; the precedents cited and the practice of the court, point to the contrary, i.e. that the judge who decided a previous cause, finally, can – and very often has- participated in the later, larger bench to which such previous decision is referred for reconsideration.”

Asking if the demands for his recusal amounted to maligning the court, Justice Mishra had earlier said,

“I may be criticised for my view, I may not be a hero and I may be a blemished person but if I am satisfied that my conscience is clear, my integrity is clear before God, I will not budge. If I think I will be influenced by any extraneous factor, I will be the first to recuse here,”

Justice Mishra had said:

“Is this not maligning the court? If you had left it to me, I would have decided… But you are taking to the social media to malign me… and the Chief Justice of India?… Can this be the atmosphere of the court? It can’t be like this… Tell me one judge who has not taken a view on this. Will that mean all of us are disqualified?… This matter should not have been listed before me. But now it is before me, so the question of my integrity has arisen.”

[Indore Development Authority v. Manohar Lal, 2019 SCC OnLine 1392, decided on 23.10.2019]

(With inputs from Indian Express)