Dhavan, appearing for a Muslim party to the Ayodhya land dispute, brought the audience to toes with a booming ‘sit down’ barb at ASG Maninder Singh, when latter was making way to a front row of seat beside colleague Tushar Mehta. Baffled by the unprovoked belligerence, Singh pointed out that it was Dhavan who had left his seat and intruded into no man’s space separating counsel for rival parties in the courtroom.
Dhavan said he has done so to stand right in front of CJI Dipak Misra and address arguments. As the exchange heated up with insinuating pleasantries, the bench of CJI and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer gaped with astonishment at the unfolding of an unforeseen situation.
Commencing arguments, Dhavan immediately sought to put the Judges in a tight situation by demanding instant decree on his question whether polygamy was more important than the sensitive Ayodhya land dispute case when it came to referring these to a five judge bench. He told the court that the media is in the courtroom and that the bench “must decide it here and now as India wants to know the answer.”
The bench asked Dhavan to focus on legal arguments then talking here and there about media and India wanting to know. Former attorney general K Parasaran, appearing for a Hindu party, said it was unfortunate for a senior advocate of Dhavan’s stature to demand bits and pieces decrees on his bits and pieces arguments and pressurising the court by invoking presence of media and ‘nation wants to know’ taunt.
This infuriated Dhavan even more and he turned his barbs at Parasaran by accusing him of enacting drama by standing up now and then and caricaturing his (Dhavan’s) arguments. Finding a much respected figure like Parasaran at the receiving end, the bench stepped in and requested Dhavan to show some respect towards a former AG.
When Dhavan reiterated that he was well within his right to invoke media, ASG Mehta said: “I have seen many arrogant lawyers before. But, Dhavan appears to have done some special course in arrogance. Such elements are deliberately brought into the case to target the institution and vitiate the atmosphere inside the courtroom.” senior advocate and former ASG C S Vaidyanathan requesrted the court to rein in Dhavan and protect counsel appearing for parties from his unnecessary insinuations.
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