When a Leather Box Created Suspense During a Supreme Court Hearing

A bench led by Justice Arun Mishra said that "it is a case where nothing should remain confidential".

New Delhi: A screeching sound and a box made up for a lot of suspense in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

It was a maroon leather box that came rolling before the dais where a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, was scheduled to begin the hearing.

Three men pushed it from the back, helping it to slide and reach where it had to be.

Out of these three, only one knew the numeric key to the open the leather box. But he had to wait for a nod from the CJI.

When the box came in front, the three judges on the bench quietly looked at it before Justice Misra said: "Open it!"

The one who knew the key rushed and pressed his fingers hurriedly on the lock.

"Is the lock open now? Bring it up," ordered the CJI, as three men lifted the box and carefully placed it on the desk below the dais where the judges sit.

Justice Misra then asked the court master to open the box and bring out what was inside it.

A bunch of papers came out of the box and the Court master handed it over to the CJI, who looked at it for a minute and gave copies to his fellow judges on the bench, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

The leather box contained a report by the Court-appointed panel of two former apex court judges, who had to give their opinion on how many cases of 1984 Anti-Sikh riots required further investigation.

The report was confidential and sensitive too. The panel had decided to submit it in a leather box and the member secretary of this committee was sent to the Court to open it with the help of a numeric password.

It is a sealed cover yellow envelope, which has been conventionally used in courts to submit confidential reports and thus, a leather box not just made a departure but also generated much curiosity.

The panel had recommended further investigation into 186 cases, where cases had earlier been recommended to be closed. The bench accepted the report.