Watch: Senior advocate Dushyant Dave tears into Supreme Court, CJI Bobde

“Let me ask SC, let me ask CJI Bobde, what have you been doing?” asked Dushyant Dave as the apex court took suo motu cognisance of the COVID-19 situation.
A file image of Dushyant Dave wearing a brown blazer and speaking at an event organised by Manthan foundation
A file image of Dushyant Dave wearing a brown blazer and speaking at an event organised by Manthan foundation
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Senior advocate and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Dushyant Dave on Thursday questioned the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde over its decision to take a suo motu case over the COVID-19 situation in the country. The senior lawyer also questioned the apex court’s move to appoint senior advocate Harish Salve as the amicus curiae in the case. 

“I deprecate the move by the Supreme Court to take these matters into its own hands. Having slept over these issues over the last several months, the Supreme Court suddenly decides to take suo motu cognisance when High Courts are in session of the matter…” Dushyant Dave said, speaking to journalist Faye D’souza on Thursday evening.

Dave criticised the Supreme Court, saying that the top court took this issue up too late, and has not been hearing important matters. “What does the Supreme Court want to do? And why today? Let me ask SC, let me ask CJI Bobde frontally, what have you been doing? You were hearing for months, the matter between Tata and Cyrus Mistry. Was that the case to be heard during COVID-19 time and decided in favour of Tatas where Mr Salve argued and succeeded? Was that the matter or were there far more important matters that you were supposed to decide that you just want to ignore? You don’t want to decide 370, CAA, you don’t decide the bail applications of thousands of citizens who are languishing in jail. You don’t decide about the COVID preparedness of the government, but suddenly you hear this corporate giant’s matter and now today you say you want to suo motu do something. With great respect, no, I think the SC has really made a serious mistake in doing what it did today (Thursday),” Dave said.

Dave also questioned the Supreme Court’s decision to appoint Harish Salve as the amicus curiae, stating that he lives in London and does not have an idea of the situation in India. 

“Mr Salve and Mr Bobde went to school together. They have been close friends. In every third case, Mr Salve is being appointed amicus curiae by CJI Bobde. This is a matter of real concern because this country has outstanding lawyers and Mr Salve is a non-resident Indian. He has been living in London for a long time, he does not know the realities of this country. He lives a different life than what is being experienced by people in India today,” Dave says. 

Watch the full video here: 

This interview was held after the Supreme Court took up the suo motu case related to distribution of essential supplies and services, including oxygen and drugs, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clips of Dushyant Dave’s interview went viral on social media and the Supreme Court on Friday pulled him up for the same. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, who is demitting office as the CJI on Friday, said Dave had made statements without reading its order passed on Thursday and observed that it did not stop High Courts from hearing cases on the COVID-19 management in the country. 

“You have imputed motives to us without reading our order,” the bench told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who was appearing in the matter. “We are also pained at reading what some senior lawyers have to say on Salve's appointment as amicus in the matter, the bench said, adding that it was a "collective decision" of all the judges at the bench.”

The Supreme Court made these remarks after Harish Salve sought to recuse as the amicus curiae. The apex court allowed him to recuse, and will hold further hearing on the dire pandemic situation after three days - April 27.

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