The Supreme Court has warned a lawyer on Wednesday that he will be "thrown out of the court" after taking umbrage at his remarks that Attorney General KK Venugopal was "personally targeting" him during the hearing on his claims of fixing and manipulation in the top judiciary.
A special three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra told advocate Utsav Singh Bains, who has filed an affidavit alleging "larger conspiracy" to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, that Mr Venugopal is one of the most respected members of the bar and he should also must respect him.
"You (Mr Bains) must know that we learn from him (Mr Venugopal). You must respect him," the bench, also comprising Justices RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta, told Mr Bains.
When Mr Bains reiterated that Mr Venugopal was attacking him personally, an irked Justice Nariman said, "You must not have even an iota of doubt on him. He never attacks anyone personally. He is the most respected member of the bar. We also learn from him."
"...otherwise we will throw you out of the court," Justice Nariman told the counsel, adding, "he (Venugopal) is a true gentleman".
Minutes later, Mr Bains said, "Since Justice Nariman said he will throw me out, I myself opt to walk out of the court."
However, Justice Mishra tried to pacify Mr Bains and said that what Justice Nariman meant was that he should respect the Attorney General.
"We, all of us, have so much respect for him. You are a young man and you should understand this," Justice Mishra said.
"Do not take anything to your heart. What my lord (Justice Nariman) advised you is to be polite. He does not mean to throw you out (of the court) really. Nobody is attacking you. You are doing an important job," he added.
During the hearing, the bench took serious note of the affidavit and materials placed before it by Mr Bains and said it would inquire and go deep to find out the truth regarding the alleged conspiracy to frame the CJI, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment by a former Supreme Court employee.
Mr Bains had filed an affidavit following the unprecedented hearing on Saturday during which Justice Gogoi had said that some "bigger force" was behind the controversy as they wanted to "deactivate" the CJI's office and he would not stoop too low even to deny these allegations.
The hearing on April 20 in the case, titled as a matter of "great public importance touching upon the independence of judiciary", was held after stories were published on some news portals about the sexual harassment allegations levelled by a former employee of the Supreme Court against the CJI.
(With inputs from PTI)