New Delhi, February 28: Dragging judges into controversy for “good words” spoken by them should be avoided, Supreme Court judge Justice Arun Mishra said in open court on Friday in a veiled reference to the controversy that erupted after he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an international judicial conference on February 22.

The remarks were made by Justice Mishra during the hearing of a case relating to the sealing of a play school near Khan Market, an upmarket neighbourhood in Lutyens Delhi, when the judge and senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi engaged in friendly banter.

Singhvi, who was appearing for the management of the play school, argued against the sealing when Justice Mishra asked Singhvi whether he lived near Khan Market.

Singhvi replied that he had left Lutyens Delhi long ago although he visits Khan Market at times. He also said he was not bothered about being called a “Khan Market elite”, referring to a jibe made by the Prime Minister last year.

“It has become an abuse these days. I don’t have a problem in being called a ‘Khan Market elite’. Lot of good coffee shops are there. I sometimes see judges also there”, said Singhvi.

Justice Mishra then said that judges “using good words” should be taken in its proper spirit. “I can use some good words for you also but then other people will start blaming me”, said Justice Mishra.

Justice Mishra, who on February 22 delivered the vote of thanks at the inaugural ceremony of the international judicial conference, had heaped praised on PM Modi. The Prime Minister, Justice Mishra had said, was “a versatile genius who thinks globally and acts locally.”

The remarks by justice Mishra came in for criticism from various quarters. The Supreme Court Bar Association has condemned his remarks, stating they reflected poorly on the independence of the judiciary.

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