New Delhi | Controversial former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju was the cynosure of all eyes as he appeared before the apex court today to justify his statement in his blog that its judgement in the Soumya rape-cum-murder case suffered from “gross error”.
As lensmen kept waiting for Justice Katju, he arrived at the court premises much before the scheduled 2 pm hearing and was escorted to the judges’ library.
Later, in a security cordon he was escorted to court number 6, the doors of which were closed as there was a large gathering of lawyers and media persons.
Many of the lawyers were seen greeting him as securitymen made way for him with the crowd of people jostling with each other to enter the packed courtroom.
As he took seat at 1.45 pm in the front row, a guard stood behind him, which provoked some lawyers to shout at the securityman asking the latter to get out of the courtroom.
“He is not a contemnor. He is a former Supreme Court Judge. Don’t stand like this,” a senior advocate from the Allahabad High Court, who is also practising in the apex court, shouted.
However, at the intervention of some other lawyers, order prevailed and sharp at 2 pm the three judges started the proceedings on the review pleas in the case.
No sooner the bench commenced hearing on the Soumya rape -cum-murder case, one of the advocates stood up and said, “please note who all wants to assist this court as the court order (to summon Katju) was not as per the law of the land”.
At this, the bench asked the lawyer whether he was suggesting that “an open notice should be there to assist us”.
“At this moment we need the help of Justice Katju,” the bench said and asked the former judge to make his points in 30 minutes.
Justice Katju said “I would request for an hour as you requested me to come and help.”
He began by saying “it is not that judges are born not to commit mistakes. Nobody is infallible. I have also committed grave mistakes. I have committed mistakes in some of my judgements which have been pointed to me and similarly, you have also committed mistakes.”
At this, Justice Gogoi said “Justice Katju, please do not remind us … we know that we are also not infallible. You point out where we have committed mistakes.”