October, 1980 – Abdul Rahman Antulay set up Indira Gandhi Pratibha Pratisthan Trust which had Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 as Trustees. It was a prayer, Court should issue a Writ of Quo Warranto declaring Respondents Nos. 2 and 3 disqualified from continuing to hold office.
This constitutional action stands in a class by itself. R.J. Mehta, a Trade Union Leader, has moved this Court by this unusual action under Article 226. Respondent No. 1 is Learned Chief Justice of this High Court, Mr. Justice Venkat Shrinivas Deshpande. Mr. Justice Bhaskar Annaji Masodkar and Mr. Justice Raghumandan Lal Aggarwal, Learned Sitting Judges of this High Court, are Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 respectively.
Learned Counsel, Indira Jaising’s arguments were heard in extenso. Learned Counsel, Indira Jaising expressed serious apprehension. Is such apprehension justifiable? My answer is in negative. Courts do not decide abstract apprehensions. The anxiety is more conjectural than real. Does ‘public confidence’ depend upon whether a Judge is or is not associated with a Trust? I think not.
A cloudy sky is anathema to a judicial universe. As observed by Chandrachud J, as Learned Chief Justice of India then was, “respect for law is, in a large measure, dependent upon esteem in which society holds those whose duty it is to interpret the law.” Questions raised are undoubtedly of considerable ‘public importance’. But if I am right, they are not amenable in judicial process and legal redress. Every ‘public question’ is not capable of constitutional adjudication.
– Hon’ble Justice Subhash Chhaganlal Pratap of Hon’ble High Court of Bombay, R.J. Mehta v. His Lordship, Chief Justice Venkat Shrinivas Deshpande and Ors., AIR 1982 Bom 125 decided on 04.02.1982.
Venkat Shrinivas Deshpande, Bhaskar Annaji Masodkar, Raghumandan Lal Aggarwal, Subhash Chhaganlal Pratap JJ were not elevated to SC.
Indira Gandhi Pratibha Pratisthan Trust was widely investigated. “Indira as Commerce”, one said.
Learned Counsel, Indira Jaising was in her 42nd yr. on 04.02.1982, just 4 yrs. away from being designated a Senior Advocate.