- While hearing a request for interim medical release on behalf of DU Associate Professor Hany Babu.
- The Bombay High Court took issue with a recent editorial penned by a lawyer condemning the Court's treatment of octogenarian Father Stan Swamy's bail application. In the Bhima Koregaon case, both Hany Babu and Stan Swamy are awaiting trial.
- On Thursday, the court witnessed dramatic scenes as Justice SS Shinde, the division bench's chairman, exchanged words with Advocate Yug Mohit Chaudhry on an editorial authored by his junior.
On Thursday, June 3, the Bombay High Court took issue with a lawyer penning an opinion article in a newspaper criticising the court's treatment of Father Stan Swamy's bail application, and instead advised lawyers to have faith in the judiciary.
While hearing Hany Babu's interim medical bail request in the Bhima-Koregaon case, a bench led by Justice S.S. Shinde directed lawyers not to write opinion articles in cases in which they appear. Hany Babu and Stan Swamy are also facing charges in the case.
The National Investigation Agency apprehended Hany Babu and Father Stan on October 8, 2020, and July 28, 2020, respectively. For allegedly forwarding the cause of the banned CPI (Maoist) through various civil rights organisations, they are charged under various sections of the IPC and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
They, along with 14 other human rights campaigners, are facing accusations.
Details of the Issue
When Justice Shinde brought up the opinion piece authored by counsel Yug Mohit Chaudhry's junior Payoshi Roy in the Indian Express on May 27, the court witnessed dramatic scenes. It was not right, Justice Shinde ruled, for Chaudhry and his friend to believe they could triumph in affairs by publishing articles in newspapers.
“Why to approach the court if you don't have faith in the system?” he asked curtly of Chaudhry.
To this, Chaudhry replied forcefully, defending his associate's legal writings and emphasising that neither he nor his associate ever represented Swamy. In addition to seeking redress from the court, he stated that the writings would continue.
“If I'm writing articles while defending the same case, then I or anyone from my chamber will be rightfully rebuked,” he stated, noting that Judges may be held accountable for their rulings.
Justice Shinde responded that he was not opposed to freedom of speech, but reminded Chaudhry that the case involving Swamy's bail application was still pending. He also stated that while Chaudhry did not represent Swamy, most of the Bhima-Koregaon cases were on a similar footing.
Shinde also pointed out that Chaudhry and his associates were representing three other defendants in the same case, and that it would be inappropriate for them to comment on a case that was still pending.
“Why come before us if you don't have faith in us?” Shinde added while emphasising that he believed in freedom of speech. So many issues relating to freedom of speech and expression have been discussed and approved. Maintain faith in us and the system. We’re here to do justice, and we're not afraid of anyone.”
“It is only because we have faith in the court that we come to the court,” Chaudhry said. However, the court has a habit of betraying our faith in it.”
To this, Justice Shinde reminded Chaudhry that it was a bench led by him that awarded Varavara Rao, another accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, interim medical bail.
The article in question is an opinion piece
After the Bombay High Court refused to consider Swamy's application for temporary bail, Payoshi Roy wrote an opinion article in the Indian Express on May 27 that led to the heated exchange between the Judge and the lawyer.
In this context, Roy harshly criticised the judiciary's treatment of Swamy's appeal. Swamy, who is 84 years old and has Parkinson's disease, is unable to hold a spoon, write, walk, or bathe. As a result, Roy stated:
Keeping Swamy jailed serves no purpose except to be cruel. The rejection to convert jail to home arrest contradicts a recent Supreme Court decision touting the benefits of home arrest in easing the rigours of prison on the sick and elderly. Despite this strong basis for bail, the Judge turned down the request. What influence do the prosecution's unsubstantiated charges have on the court, blinding it to compelling reason and judicial conscience?
In matters of terrorism and national security, courts have been at their weakest and most subservient to the government. The case of Bhima Koregaon appears to have become synonymous with political victimisation.
Swamy, on the other hand, tested positive for COVID-19 on May 27. On May 28, a bench led by Justice Shinde heard the case and ordered Swamy to be transferred to a private hospital for 15 days. Swamy is now receiving treatment at a private facility for COVID-19.
Last month, the Bombay High Court ordered Delhi University Associate Professor Hany Babu, who tested positive for covid -19, to be sent to Breach Candy hospital. Because some services were lacking in the government hospital, Justice SJ Kathawalla, who led the bench, said there was nothing wrong if he was admitted to a hospital of his choosing.
On his wife Jenny Rowena's temporary bail application, the court granted the order.
On Thursday, Chaudhry stated that Babu may be released based on the medical advice of the Breach Candy doctor. He may, however, be placed under house arrest. While Babu may not require hospitalisation, he is not totally healthy, according to him.
When the physicians stated he was fit for discharge, Justice Shinde originally resisted, claiming that they couldn't block a hospital bed. Furthermore, he was facing significant accusations under the UAPA Act, and they would issue an order after hearing the parties.
The court recommended that Babu be admitted to JJ Hospital's jail unit. Following that, there was a verbal brawl between the bar and the bench. Finally, the bench extended Babu's stay of execution until June 15. He can stay in the private institution until his case is heard on June 15, according to the court.
The court also ordered the hospital to provide a new report by June 14th.
Father Stan Swany
After Father Stan Swamy's interim bail motion was partially considered by another vacation bench of the Bombay High Court, the advocate published the editorial in question.
During the hearing, father Swamy appealed with the bench led by Justice SJ Kathawalla to be released on temporary bail while refusing to be admitted to the hospital.
"If this continues, I would rather suffer and possibly die very soon. Whatever happens to me, I'd like to be with my family." When the court seemed uninterested, Swamy's lawyers wanted more time to persuade him to be hospitalised.
His lawyers moved the court the following week. On May 28, a bench led by Justice Shinde heard the case and ordered the State to transfer Father Swamy to a private hospital for a period of 15 days. Since then, Father Swamy has tested positive for the virus and is receiving treatment in the hospital.
Hany Babu, Chaudhary told the court, was still not feeling well. “We are not requesting that he be kept in prison. There are a few things that aren't quite right with him. His optic nerve has remained enlarged. The court may decide to place him under house arrest.” Chaudhary claimed, Hany Babu should be allowed to stay in Breach Candy Hospital itself. The bench agreed and ordered the hospital to produce a new report on his medical condition.