Barely two weeks after he gave up court practice, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan has written to the Chief Justice, retracting his statement.
Upset over a “humilitating” exchange in the Supreme Court between him and Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra during the hearing on Delhi Vs Centre on statehood case early this month, Dhavan, in a strong worded letter, had announced that he has given up court practice.
At one point during the hearing, CJI had told Dhavan, “You go on shouting. You are always like that. We will give our judgment”. This embarrassed Dhawan, who regretted that the Constitution bench was not permitting him to articulate his propositions.
However, the senior lawyer has taken back his statement to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that he would not practice in courts anymore.
Dhavan took back his letter after at least one sitting Supreme Court judge reached out to him to resume practice. Several former apex court and HC judges had also reached out to Dhavan and expressed their dismay that the Chief Justice of India had not responded to Dhavan’s letter in any form.
A former Supreme Court judge (who has also served in a govt tribunal till recently) had called up Dhavan to say, “if it had been me, on receiving the letter, I would have jumped into my car and come for a cup of tea to convince you to get back.”
In the last few weeks, several senior clients have decided not to take their briefs elsewhere and repeatedly requested Dhavan to get back to court.
Junior lawyers felt they would lose out. “He’s a wealth of knowledge and it is great watching him combine wit, Court craft and diction in Court”.
Several senior advocates too have reached out to express their disappointment that Dhavan had decided to step back from court practice.
Senior lawyer Fali Nariman has however stayed off this issue though it is believed that Dhavan and Nariman share a bond. Dhavan has also dedicated his recent book on the Consitution to Nariman.
In the past days since his decision to stay away from court, Dhavan has also avoided any media interaction.
Agreeing that there are "some things fundamentally wrong with the court and its functioning", Dhavan said he still "owes a lot to the Supreme Court and the judicial system,.. and have not repaid my debt."
In a letter addressed to CJI Dipak Misra, Dhavan said he is engaged in several matters as the Babri Masjid Case and others and "must continue my obligations in pending cases."
In what appears to be an apology, Dhavan also urged the CJI to forget and forgive 'every tresspass' on the ocassion of New Year.
Dhavan has had a long practice as a lawyer, first with the Allahabad High Court and later with the Supreme Court. He is considered an expert on constitutional law matters and has also written books on reservation, censorship and possibly India’s only work on refugee law.
Dhavan has been critical of judges through his writing and been a commentator on both the bar and the judiciary. It is believed that he has usually maintained cordial relations with several judges as much as can be permitted within the auspices of that relationship.