SCBA mulls BCI plea to help financially-troubled lawyers in wake of COVID-19.

A day after the Bar Council of India urged the Prime Minister and states to help the financially stressed lawyers in wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ashok Arora has sought views of the members of the Association on extending financial help for such lawyers.

The contributions thus collected are proposed to be diverted towards the beneficiaries. This could be done without revealing the beneficiary’s identity so as to not hurt anyone’s dignity, Arora said in the message he put out for the SCBA members.

“The BCI would like to make a fervent and urgent request to your good selves to kindly make a provision for providing a minimum subsistence allowance of Rs 20,000 per month for young and not financially well-off advocates, who are staying and practising in the country,” BCI said in a letter addressed to the senior leaders.

Arora has proposed that money can also be collected from senior advocates and as well as from the SCBA funds for this purpose and the recipients names shall be kept confidential.

While this is only a proposal at the moment, Arora has sought the opinion of the members of the SCBA Executive Committee as well as from other members of the Association.

Due to restricted functioning of courts, earning opportunities have ceased for lawyers, who it said earn and live by the day or earnings of the week.

Since the advocate fraternity has no social security benefits and if at all any unforeseeable situation presents itself, many advocates as well as their families would face  difficulties, it added. The top court has been functioning on restricted terms since March 16, to decongest the court and thereby minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus. On March 23, the restricted functioning was further thinned down to skeletal staff required to only hear matters of extreme urgency via video conferencing.

Judges row: SC to soon make public work allocation system

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has examined suggestions from stakeholders to bring transparency in allocation of sensitive PILs to judges and is likely to bring in the public domain soon the system he is going to adopt for it, sources close to him said today.

They said that the listing of two petitions demanding an independent probe into the death of CBI special judge B H Loya before a bench headed by the CJI manifests that all issues, including allocation of cases, raised by the four seniormost judges in their controversial January 12 press conference, are being considered.

The Loya case petitions will come up for hearing tomorrow.

The sources said that Justice Misra has held deliberations with fellow judges and also taken into account the suggestions put forth by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and a clear-cut roster system is likely to be followed in the apex court for allocation of cases.

“The apex court registry is very likely to upload on its website the decision of the CJI on allocation of matters. The system will be brought in the public domain as to who will hear what categories of cases,” a highly placed source told PTI.

When contacted, SCBA President Vikas Singh said there was a demand from the bar to follow the roster system of allocation of work prevalent in the Delhi High Court.

“We are quite hopeful that the CJI in all likelihood is going to accept our suggestions and all misunderstanding that has come out in the open after the press conference of the four judges can be resolved,” Singh said.

He said that a system for allocation of cases identical to that in the Delhi High Court is followed in the Bombay High Court.

During the press conference, the four judges — justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had raised various issues, including the allocation of important and sensitive PILs, and questioned the manner in which the CJI was allocating them to a particular bench.

The PILs in the Loya case was one of them which was being heard by a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra who later recused himself from it.

The list of the top court’s business for January 22 had on January 19 shown that it has been referred to an appropriate bench and late in the evening the website showed that it will be heard by a bench headed by the CJI.

Sources said that some of the judges who are the future CJIs — justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud — have been holding parleys with the CJI to resolve the crisis that hit the judiciary after the January 12 presser.

They also said that the judges who have been having talks with the CJI for bringing the house in order were also not happy that the four seniormost judges went public with their grievances.

After January 18, there was no meeting between the CJI and the four judges as Justice Chelameswar was out of the national capital on a scheduled visit to Chennai and Bengaluru.

There is a likelihood that the CJI and the four judges would meet on Monday before the court commences hearings, the sources said.

SC crisis: 4 retired judges write open letter to CJI

Four retired judges, including an ex-Supreme Court judge, today wrote an open letter to the chief justice of India, saying they agree with the issues raised by the four apex court judges over allocation of cases and the crisis needs to be resolved “within the judiciary”.

The letter by former apex court judge P B Sawant, ex- chief justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, former Madras High Court judge K Chandru and ex-Bombay High Court judge H Suresh was given to the media. It also went viral on social media.

Justice Shah confirmed having written an open letter along with the other retired judges and told PTI, “We have written the open letter which the other judges named in the letter have also consented to.”

He said that the view expressed by the retired judges is “quite similar to the views of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that till this crisis is resolved, the important matters should be listed before a five-judge Constitution bench of senior judges”.

Justice Shah said that earlier he was not sure about the consent given by the other three judges and, therefore, he initially denied having written any letter but now all of them have given consent to it.

The letter quoted the judges as having said, “The four senior puisne Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court.

“They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law.”

The four retired judges said that they agree with the four judges of top court that though the CJI is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work but this does not mean that it can be done in an “arbitrary manner” such that, “sensitive and important cases” are sent to “hand-picked benches” of junior judges by the chief justice.

“This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent,” they said, adding that this must be done “immediately to restore public confidence” in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court.

The letter further said that “however till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution bench of the five seniormost judges of this Court”.

It added, “Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard.

 

Source : PTI

SCBA Election 2012: MN Krishnamani Won by 136 Votes

Here in Delhi Supreme Court bar association election 2012 (SCBA) has been done successfully after the victory of Senior Advocate MN Krishnamani.

Senior advocate MN Krishnamani Won by 136 Votes in Supreme Court bar association election 2012.

In between this elections (SCBA) president PH Parekh did not run for the Supreme Court Bar Association election offices again this time.

Even Senior advocates Adish Aggarwala, Ram Jethmalani and PK Jain who had also filed their nominations for the post had withdrawn their candidature last week.

Senior advocate Rupinder Singh Suri has been defeated  by MN Krishnamani about 136 votes.

1340 advocate participated in the election in which 547 members voted for Krishnamani. Senior advocate Rajiv Dutta, also an incumbent for the post, won 200 votes.

Senior advocate Vasdev Kailash was elected the vice-president leaving behind seven other candidates, and advocate Pareena Swarup was elected the secretary to the body, out of 13 incumbents for the post.

For the first time, only advocates who had appeared at least 50 times before the Supreme Court and had not voted in the elections of any other bar association in the country were allowed to vote in the Supreme Court Bar Association elections.

The Voting Process had casted from 9 am until 4:30 pm yesterday electronically.

158 Supreme Court lawyers were vying for 21 posts in the Supreme Court Bar Association elections executive committee, relying on 1372 expected votes according to the eligible voters’ list released for the Supreme Court Bar Association elections (SCBA) elections this time.

The other new office bearers include: Advocate Sandeep Singh as assistant secretary, advocate VK Biju as treasurer, and advocate Neeraj Kumar Sharma as assistant treasurer.

Total eleven members contested for the post of senior executive members, while senior advocates Anoop George Chaudhari, K Radhakrishnan, SB upadhyay, Pallav Shishodia, Brijendar chahr and Bhim Singh won.

As executive members out of the 53 who were contested in election only Advocate Bina Madhavan, Advocate C. S. Ashri, Advocate Asha G. Nair, Advocate Pijush Kanti Roy, Advocate Vikrant Yadav, Advocate Vikas Bansal, Advocate Devashish Bharuka, Advocate Meenesh Kumar Dubey and Advocate Aftab Ali Khan won.

Supreme court sets terms for bar election

The Supreme Court Monday said that members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) whose names do not figure in the final list of regular practitioners would not be entitled to either vote or contest the election for the office bearers of the apex body of lawyers.

 

‘The members of the SCBA, whose names do not figure in the final list of regular practitioners, shall not be entitled to either vote for election of the office bearers of the SCBA or to contest any of the posts for which elections would be held by,’ said an apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice H.L. Gokhale.

 

After preparation of the final list of the regular practitioners, each member shall give a written intimation to the association whether he was a member of another court annexed bar, the judgment read.

Justice Panchal said that it would be mandatory for a member, whose name was included in the list, to give a permanent declaration that he would vote only in the SCBA and would not vote in any of the election of any high court bar association or district bar association or taluka bar association or associations of quasi-judicial bodies.

 

A copy of this declaration shall be displayed on the website of the SCBA as well as on the notice board of the SCBA, the judgment said.

The court said that such an information would be sent to all the bar associations.

 

‘Once such a declaration has been given, it will be valid till it is revoked and once it is revoked a member shall forfeit his right to vote or contest any election to any post to be conducted by the SCBA, for a period of three years from the date of revocation,’ said the judges.

For the identification of the regular practicing lawyers appearing in the matters before the apex court, the judges said that the criteria adopted by the court for allotment of chambers should be adopted by the SCBA.

Under the said criteria, an advocate on record has to do 20 filings of cases in a year, a lawyer has to appear in 50 cases and an arguing counsel has to argue 50 cases to be eligible for the allotment of a chamber.

This court recommended names of three senior counsel – K.K. Venugopal, P.P. Rao and Ranjit Kumar – as the members of a committee for implementing its directions.