The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up advocate Prashant Bhushan for making "disturbing" remarks against the bench hearing the coal-gate case, but later accepted his apology.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R M Lodha, which listed the case for today only for the purpose of taking cognizance of Bhushan's statements published in a news magazine, expressed its anger and displeasure over the remarks, saying they were uncalled for.
The bench, also comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, refused to proceed against Bhushan any further after he apologised for his remarks and turned down the plea made by other lawyers involved in the coal-gate case to take action against him for his contemptuous remarks.
In an interview with a news magazine, Bhushan had raised questions on why the bench did not take any action against Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati after it was found that the AG allegedly lied to the court.
Taking strong exception to the statement, the bench said, "We got very disturbed when it was brought to our notice and listed the case for today."
The apex court said judges hear and decide cases fearlessly and favour-lessly and fingers should not be raised to question their conduct.
"Judges never lag behind in passing order when justice demands. If we cannot act fearlessly, without ill-will and without favour, then who will," it said.
At the same time, the bench said, "It is not our task to keep everybody happy."
The bench also said that judges have no social life and they don't interact with people socially.
"You are in the public life. But we don't meet socially with anyone. We are cut off from a social life. I can't explain to you and you cannot even imagine that we have absolutely no social interaction except in conferences and functions where we interact and shake hands," the bench said.
Bhushan apologised and said he was extremely sorry if his statements hurt the bench. He said that he has the highest regard for the court.
"It is just about perception and it requires super human powers and firmness to take a decision. Even I would have done the same thing if I had been at the lordship's place," he said.
The bench, however, told Bhushan that the damage has been done as “you cannot retrieve an arrow when it goes out of your hands”.
"Such statements must be avoided if it affects the functioning of an institution," the bench said.
The bench agreed to put an end to this issue and recorded the statement of Bhushan.
"Somebody may file a petition seeking contempt proceedings against you and we don't want any such things," the bench said, while recording Bhushan's statement and putting a full stop on the controversy.