One of India’s most illustrious lawyers, usually known for his criticism of the Supreme Court and Chief Justices, has praised the apex for its handling of the Lakhimpur Kheri case over the last two days of hearings which concluded this afternoon.
Dushyant Dave says: “The Supreme Court has proved it’s the sentinel on the qui vive, it’s a truly watchful guardian of the citizens.”
Dave was also bountiful in his praise for Chief Justice Ramana who he said “has done remarkable work in the last few months”. Unlike his four predecessors who, Dave said, had “failed to discharge their constitutional duties”, CJI Ramana has “clearly proved he is true to his constitutional oath”.
In a 18-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Dushyant Dave, who is also a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said the Supreme Court’s handling of the Lakhimpur Kheri case over the last two days was “a remarkable intervention”. He said the Supreme Court “has achieved a lot without passing any orders against the government.”
Dave said the Uttar Pradesh government and the DGP of Police, in particular, have been told very firmly what the court expects of them. When questioned, he said the court could not have ordered the arrest of Ashish Mishra even though he failed to turn up for questioning today and could be thought of as an absconder. That would have been an injudicious exercise of its powers by the Supreme Court.
Instead, Dave said, it has acted in an “extremely responsible and restrained manner”. Dave said the UP government, DGP and UP Police will have to take appropriate action because the Supreme Court has made it clear anything else would be unacceptable.
Dave said Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of the UP government, has assured that Uttar Pradesh will do everything required now. He added that if the UP government and police do not act as required by the court, the latter has sufficient powers to respond effectively.
In The Wire interview, Dave said the Supreme Court was not wrong to postpone the matter till the next hearing on October 20 – a 12-day delay. This matter, he said, did not require further action by the court during the puja vacation period.
Speaking about CJI Ramana, Dave said the message the Supreme Court has sent out “is very positive for citizens”. He said “the court is being led from the front by CJI Ramana.”
A few months ago, when Chief Justice Ramana took over, Dave had written an article in the Indian Express expressing his view that the new Chief Justice has to reverse the “disastrous performance” of his four predecessors and, instead, assert himself, the court and stand up for the rights of Indian citizens.
Today, Dave said he is “greatly satisfied”.
Watch the full interview here.