New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Denied the use of Supreme Court auditorium for giving farewell to Justice Indu Malhotra, SCBA has written to Chief Justice S A Bobde demanding that the bar body should be allowed to use the facility.
It was 'most unfortunate' that the Supreme Court Bar Association was denied the auditorium for giving farewell to Justice Malhotra, who retired from judgeship on March 13, SCBA President Vikas Singh said in the letter to the CJI.
The auditorium, constructed at the earlier Appu Ghar site at Pragati Maidan in the national capital, was to be used jointly by the Judges and Registry of the Supreme Court as well as the SCBA, Singh said.
He said it had been discussed earlier that the auditorium was to be used by the SCBA as well as the Supreme Court judges, with the only rider that if the facilities were required by both simultaneously, then the Judges will have precedence.
However, “it seems that a decision was taken later on that the facilities would only be used by and for the official functions of the Judges or of the Supreme Court, meaning thereby that the SCBA is not permitted to use the Auditorium for any purpose', he said.
'Clearly, the said decision is most arbitrary and liable to be recalled forthwith as the property of the government handed over to the Supreme Court for its use clearly implies that the property would be jointly used by the Judges and Registry of Supreme Court along with the SCBA on equal rights basis and the SCBA cannot be construed as a stranger in asserting its rights on the property handed over to the Supreme Court” the letter stated.
“It is also most unfortunate that the auditorium was denied at the time when the SCBA was giving its farewell to Justice Indu Malhotra,” Singh said.
It is completely arbitrary to consider the Bar a stranger for the purposes of utilizing the facilities created in the Supreme Court, he said.
“We have discussed the matter in our Executive Committee and it has been unanimously resolved that the decision dated September 26, 2019 should be recalled forthwith and a decision be taken that henceforth all the facilities created in the Appu Ghar Complex, like Auditorium, meeting rooms etc. would be made available to the SCBA free of cost as being utilized by the Judges of the Supreme Court,” he said.
The letter further stated that with the passage of time, while the Registry requires more space to cater to the additional work being handled by it, the SCBA also requires additional space to cater to the accretion in the number of members in the association. “When the new area was being built, although one tower was earmarked for providing chambers for lawyers, the SCBA was never consulted as to how the chambers were to be constructed resulting in the chambers being made of such a size which is now being considered too small for dual allotment and too big for single allotment. “The chambers in spite of being ready for more than four years are not being allotted to the lawyers waiting for such allotment due to the above reason and now it is being deliberated to demolish the existing chambers by providing for smaller chambers which can be allotted on single occupancy basis to more number of lawyers,” it said.
It added that the public money has been wasted in the unplanned construction resulting in not being able to utilize the chambers for the last two years and additional money is being wasted in changing the size of the chambers, resulting in further delay in allotment of the chambers to the lawyers. PTI UK SJK SA