"We will not hear this matter at all in view of the submission made by senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan. Matter should be heard by another bench," said Justice Singhvi, taking a serious view of some of the words used by Dhawan while insisting that the court hear his submission. (Agencies)
Protesting the adjournment of the hearing of the case till December 2, 2013, Rajiv Dhawan appearing for a news magazine that carried extracts of the former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's telephone intercepts, described the adjournment of hearing as arbitrary, unfortunate and denying the media a right to answer.
The court was hearing a petition by industrialist Ratan Tata. The court adjourned the hearing after giving a week's time to file its reply on the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL)'s application, seeking action on the Serious Fraud Investigation Office report on its investigations into certain aspects emerging from the Niira Radia tapes.
CPIL counsel Prashant Bhushan mentioned his application, and senior counsel Harish Salve told the court that they wanted to file a reply to it, and needed four to seven days' time.
Allowing the request by Salve, who appeared for industrialist Ratan Tata, the court also asked the centre and the CBI to file their response to the CPIL application. It was at this stage that Dhawan urged the court to hear him.
Recalling that the matter had been adjourned a couple of times earlier also, Dhawan said: "It is highly unfortunate. I don't want to say this at a time when my lordship is retiring, but I have to say it is highly unfortunate," and this precipitated the matter, with Justice Singhvi recusing himself from hearing the case.
Subsequent attempts by Salve, Prashant Bhushan and ASG Paras Kuhad to mollify Justice Singhvi did not succeed. The court was hearing a petition by Tata seeking a thorough probe into the leaking of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia's tapped conversation, and an application by NGO CPIL seeking direction that the entire conversation, except which are strictly private in nature, be put in the public domain.
Radia's phones were put under surveillance by the income tax department after the finance ministry on November 16, 2007, received an anonymous letter alleging that in a short span of few years she had built a business house of Rs 300 crore.
The complaint had also alleged that Radia had dubious foreign connections. The income tax department had put Radia's phone under surveillance three times for 60 days each, between 2008 and 2009.
"We will not hear this matter at all in view of the submission made by senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan. Matter should be heard by another bench," said Justice Singhvi, taking a serious view of some of the words used by Dhawan while insisting that the court hear his submission.