On Monday (April 5, 2021), a three judge Bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde heard submissions on the Hindustan Zinc Disinvestment matter. The plea was filed by National Confederation of Officers' Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings. It pertained to questions on Centre’s decision to disinvest in Hindustan Zinc.
Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta and Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan were on opposite sides putting forward their contentions. During this, the SG asked Bhushan to not “abuse every individual and institution.”
Along with this, the SG also asked Bhushan to not make allegations against the people that are not present in the court.
Mehta said, “Don't abuse every individual and every institution. Mr Rohatgi who appeared in this matter for Vedanta has not given any opinion in this matter."
This remark from the SG came soon after Bhushan contended question on failure of CBI to file a normal case even after repeated recommendations from Senior Officials. He also stated the then Attorney General had opined unneedful to file a case as to when he was a lawyer to the parties involved.
Bhushan went on to say, "There were news reports which said that it was ultimately referred to the then Attorney General and the then AG opined that there was no need to file a regular case. The then AG happens to be the lawyer for this Vedanta Company.”
This is when the SG, Mehta asked the Court to stop his counterpart, Bhushan to make further allegations. He said:
"This person, the lordships must stop him. He has formed a habit of making accusations against every individual and every Institution and he is getting emboldened. Your Lordships magnanimity is being taken to be a weakness."
He further added, "Your Lordships majesty is being misunderstood by him. I am sorry to say this. He is not at on a public platform or addressing a public rally! "
Bhushan responded with the following statement, "Please Let me make my submissions. Even you are not on a public platform. "
Mehta replied by saying, "Make submissions, don't make baseless allegations on persons not present in the Court."
He further added, "What do you mean not present in the Court? I have said this on affidavit and filed newspaper reports. I am asking the Lordships to do two things. "
Bhushan pointed out, "You cannot ask, you can pray! "
Lastly, the Bench on Tuesday (April 6, 2021) said that it will examine the status report filed by the CBI pertaining to the disinvestment of the Government's shares in Hindustand Zinc Limited in 2002.
The matter has been posted for hearing on next Tuesday (April 13, 2021) now.