Lawyers Deny That They Resisted Storage of Flood Relief Materials In Bar Association's Rooms
The reports that the Thrissur Bar Association refused to open its rooms for storing flood relief materials are stated to be untrue by the members and office bearers of the Association.
It was widely reported from Sunday night that Thrissur District Collector, T.V Anupama IAS, had to invoke power under the Disaster Management Act to force open the rooms to store supplies, after Bar Association refused to accede to the request.The media reports stated that the District Collector vacated room numbers 35 and 36 of the Bar Association exercising powers under Sections 34(h),(j),(m) of the Disaster Management Act after the Association refused to open the rooms to store 1000 kilograms of rice and other materials contributed by Tamil Nadu.
It may be noted that the Bar Association building is situated within the compound of Collectorate. The need for the rooms arose when a truck load of rice bags from Tamil Nadu for flood relief supply reached Thrissur on Sunday morning.
Speaking to Live Law about the incident, Adv. Jose Mechery, the President of Trichur Bar Association, asserted that Association did not offer any resistance in using the rooms for storing relief materials, and that they were always ready and willing to hand over the rooms. He denied having got any official communication from the Collectorate regarding requirement of rooms and said that he only got a call from a staff of the District Court requesting for the rooms. Since it was a Sunday, the staff of the Association, who had the keys of the room, were on leave. While the Association was taking efforts to get keys from the staff, the District Collector forcefully opened the room to store materials, without waiting for their response. He further mentioned that lawyers had no objection in the taking over of rooms by Collector. In fact, lawyers helped in unloading and storing materials in the room- he pointed out.
Jose Mechery said that media reports distorted the event to tarnish the image of lawyers. He added that Thrissur lawyers were active in providing relief aid in Thrissur district, which has taken a bad hit in the floods. When the reports came, he went to meet the Collector, along with Secretary and Vice President of the Associaiton. According to Jose Mechery, the District Collector expressed surprise at the news reports and assured action against misreporting.
The Bar Association had cancelled its Onam celebration programs to contribute to relief fund, and has set up a collection centre to gather and distribute relief materials at camps located in the district.
In social media, several lawyers have expressed their disapproval of the media reports.They shared their pain and anguish at the reports which painted lawyers in a bad light, overlooking their humanitarian efforts.
Although Live Law sent an email to the official id of the District Collector on Sunday night seeking the official version of the events, no response has been received till now.