In a breaking Development, the Executive Committee of Supreme Court Bar Association decided to call a General Body Meeting on 8th July to resolve the following things;
"1. Supreme Court Bar Association Resolves that following Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of Non-Cooperation, Members of Supreme Court Bar Association, will not participate in any Official Functions with Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court, including References, Independence Day and Law Day and further Resolves not to give any Farewell Function to Hon’ble Retiring Judges, till 2nd December 2015 or till such time as our Just Requests, detailed in our various communications dated 15.1.2015, 28.1.2015, 29.01.2015, 04.02.2015, 04.02.2015, 20.02.2015, 14.05.2015, 22.05.2015, which are absolutely necessary in the interests of Members of the Bar, are acceded to, in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
2. Supreme Court Bar Association further Resolves that if the Just Requests of Bar contained in various communications dated 15.1.2015, 28.1.2015, 29.01.2015, 04.02.2015, 04.02.2015, 20.02.2015, 14.05.2015, 22.05.2015, are not acceded to within two weeks from today, Supreme Court Bar Association will take all such measures as may be available to it, including filing a Writ Petition in the Hon'ble Supreme Court, to ensure that its Members get all the basic facilities as are needed, to enable them to perform their duties towards their Clients, to ensure proper Justice to them and to enforce Fundamental Rights, including Right to Life and Livelihood with dignity, to its Members in the Supreme Court of India and calls upon the Members, including distinguished Senior Members of the Bar, to assist and appear on behalf of the Association without fail.”
The Executive Committee has requested the President to issue an explanatory note to the Members, explaining why we have been forced to adopt this approach of 'Non-Cooperation' for the kind consideration of Members, so that proper judgment can be made by the Hon’ble Members to pass the above Resolutions. (Copy Enclosed)
The Executive Committee also resolved that in view of the persistent failure by the Hon’ble Judges to allow meeting to take place in inner lawn of Supreme Court, the only place left to ensure organized and secure meeting, is Plaza Canteen. Therefore, it is decided that General Body Meeting will be held in the Plaza Canteen on 8th July 2015 at 3 pm. Members may also note that the right of Participation in the GBM will be restricted to SCBA Voter's List-2015, following the judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court passed in C.A. No.3401/2003 in SCBA Vs. B.D. Kaushik. Hon’ble Members are requested to cooperate and bring proximity card to enable entry for them.
Here is the Explanatory Note to the Members
"Dear Distinguished Members,
I address this note for your kind consideration to enable each one of you to see the reasons and justification in adopting the course that my Esteemed Colleagues in the Executive Committee and myself, have unanimously recommended to you for approval and passage. I must say at the outset that we have made every effort to ensure that you all get the Facilities, basic and minimum and not extravagant, in the Supreme Court premises to enable you to discharge your duties as Lawyers of the Highest Court in the Country, as efficiently and comfortably as possible. You will see these in the following paragraphs. Yet, the Supreme Court and the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, have singularly failed to address them, discuss them, much less resolve them positively. On some crucial points, having agreed to provide much needed facilities, the requests have been turned down by Registry Official, claiming at the instance of the "Competent Authority". My colleagues on Executive Committee and I, are perplexed by this rather casual and negligent approach.
We, the Bar, are as important as the Bench and Registry are, in this great Institution. Yet we are being neglected, and I am afraid perhaps deliberately. Having left no stone unturned, We the Executive Committee, your elected and representative body, have reached this impasse, wherefrom we see no hope or future for our collective betterment, except to take the course as agreed by us and placed before you, the General Body and the Supreme Authority, to take Final Decision. My colleagues in the Executive Committee and I, as you have, full faith and respect for the Institution of the Supreme Court, but then what other option is available to us? We refuse to do anything at the cost of Honour of this Noble Profession of Law, much less this great body called the Supreme Court Bar Association. We believe you elected us to uphold Dignity of the Bar and we would be failing you if we were to compromise our Dignity.
So please be informed that;
1) SCBA is perhaps the only Bar Association in the Country without a regular and sufficient Bar Room. For last five decades this Just facility has not been conceived, much less provided. We too perhaps failed to make serious efforts to get it. Result is for all to see. We are forced to use libraries, much needed for serious and peaceful studies, and Canteens. In my personal discussions with Hon'ble Judges as also in my Letter of May 14th, 2015, I requested for it but to no avail. Not even a reply or response, much less assurance.
2) Restoring much needed and age old system of all Listings only through Advance Lists and Weekly Lists. This will straightway obviate hardships faced by AOR s and other Lawyers in having sufficient time to prepare briefs, inform Clients and instruct Seniors where needed. But no respite.
3) Our Clients, who are the biggest stakeholders in the Justice Delivery System, as also Clerks, Drivers and other support staff, absolutely need a shelter/shed /canteen to take meals or snacks. Existing canteens are wholly inadequate. The Hon'ble CJI agreed to our suggestion to create one in existing cycle stand space in-between Chamber Blocks AK Sen and RK Garg. Now we are informed, curtly, that "Competent Authority" has rejected the request.
4) SCBA is directly responsible for the availability of land in Pragati Maidan Complex as we filed the legal proceedings leading to SLP 13563/2007 in which orders were made to get the land. Order dated 18/11/2008 is self-evident. Yet, we have never been taken into confidence in its creation much less Consulted. Result, instead of 500 promised Chambers we may get 250, that too not sure. Even the design is kept secret from us. We have tried to discuss this and get some mileage for us even at this late stage, but we are being stone-walled.
5) We all know the grave difficulties we face on Mondays and Fridays, if not dangers. It is impossible to walk in corridors without being hit by someone (imagine plight of our Lady and Elderly Members), near impossibility to enter Courts and resultant appearances before 14 Courts, huffing and puffing with half-hearted arguments. Courts in anxiety to complete, try and speed up hearings. You know the results. We at Executive Committee passed a resolution requesting Hon'ble Judges to keep two sittings, before and after lunch, dividing matters between two Sessions to decongest Courts. But no response. No discussion.
6) The manner in which New Supreme Court Rules were brought in, without any consultation or discussion with the Bar, when the whole purpose and rationale of these Rules is to prescribe and regulate procedure and therefore crucial and critical for the Lawyers, leave much to be desired. Even the subsequent efforts of trying to cure some serious absurdities and infirmities, like requiring the Petitioner to pay extra set of Court Fees, upon filing proof of service on each Caveator, have not met with favor so far.
7) Designation of Seniors is a heartburning issue. I raised it again and again but total silence. Result is for you all to see.
Other equally crucial issues have been raised but not responded at all. My letter dated 14.05.2015 referenced above, our Secretary's letters dated 15.01.2015, 28.01.2015, 29.01.2015, 04.02.2015, 20.02.2015 and 22.05.2015, our circular to you dated 04.02.2015, are testimony to our failed efforts. So now, it is for you to decide, Friends. But please do bear in mind that this struggle is not just for all of us but also for the future generations of SCBA Members. I recommend that we pass the Resolutions proposed in all humility.
Warm Regards and Have a Thoughtful Weekend ahead.