Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi came down strongly upon senior advocateFali Nariman after CBI director Alok Verma's response to the CVC probe were leaked to the media. Nariman is Verma's senior counsel.
The court was adjourned twice on Tuesday, once immediately after the hearing began and once later in the day.
During the hearing earlier on Tuesday, November 20, Gogoi handed over two news articles to Nariman. The article by news organisation The Wire consisted of confidential information of Verma's response to CVC.
"You being a senior member, we have given this to you. Please help us. If you want to take some time and respond, please do. We will hear other cases," Gogoi said.
"For reasons that need not be recorded, we don't want the hearing," he added.
Gogoi added, "None of you deserve any hearing."
However, after handing over the documents Nariman, the SC adjourned the case to November 29.
The Supreme Court bench comprised of Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph questioned the lawyers how confidential information could be leaked to the media. Another article by the Wire contained CBI officer MK Sinha's application to be impleaded in the case. According to The Quint, Sinha's application contains controversial information regarding the senior officers of the CBI.
Nariman, who is representing Verma said that he was 'shattered' and 'shocked' that the information was leaked to the press.
"This is unacceptable. I am also disturbed. Summon the person who did it. I worked the whole night," Nariman said, reports NDTV.
What did the Wire article say?
The Wire report in question contained information of Verma's response to the CVC's questionnaire. In the report, Verma had said that his second-in-command Asthana alleged that the former had taken bribes only after he came under the CVC's radar and was charged for taking bribes.
The news organisation clarified that the information it had published was not part of Verma's final response to the CVC and was not part of the sealed documents to be given to the Supreme Court.
It tweeted, "This is to clarify that @thewire_in stories were on Alok Verma's responses to questions the CVC put to him. These were not in a sealed cover and were not meant for the SC. As for his response to CVC's final report, handed over to SC in a sealed cover, we haven't seen/reported that."
Verma's lawyers blame media
Nariman has asked the journalists to be summoned to court since journalism should be free but should also be done responsibly.
Gogoi had refused to hear Nariman's side. Nariman wanted to convince the top court bench that the articles published only contained what Verma answered to the CVC and not the final inquiry report.
"Yesterday we refused the mentioning and we expressed that the highest degree of confidentiality will be maintained, but for some strange reason the papers were taken away and given to everyone. The court is not a platform. It is a place for adjudication. We intend to set it right." CJI Gogoi was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Alok Verma had filed a plea to look into him being forced to go on leave on October 22 and the appointment of Nageshwar Rao as the interim chief of CBI.