As Kerala battles its worst flood in nearly a century, the entire legal community seems to be joining hands to come to the aid of the flood-ravaged State. The latest to join the list is Tripura High Court.
All judges and non-judicial staff members of the Tripura High Court, as well as the District Judiciary, have decided to contribute a day's salary to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund. According to a press release issued by the Court, the initiative was taken at the behest of Chief Justice Ajay Rastogi.
The release says: "The State of Kerala and its people have been facing the devastation and distress caused by the unprecedented flood situation. As the fellow countrymen, we share the pain and agony of the people of Kerala and as a humble gesture, at the initiative of His Lordship, Hon'ble the Chief Justice of the High Court of Tripura, it has been decided that one day's salary of Hon'ble the Chief Justice, other Hon'ble Judges of the High Court and all Judicial officers and staff members of the High Court and District Judiciary will be contributed to the 'Chief Ministers Distress Relief Fund', Government of Kerala for supporting the flood victims of Kerala. Cumulatively the entire contribution is likely to amount to Rupees 16 Lakhs (approx.).”
Leading by example, Supreme Court judges are also set to contribute Rs. 25,000 each to the Kerala flood relief fund. As per a circular issued by the Administrative side of the Supreme Court, individual donations would be made towards Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund by all the judges.
Earlier, Supreme Court judges, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice KM Joseph had contributed to the drive organised by Apex Court lawyers on Saturday to collect relief materials. Materials such as bed sheets, nighties, t-shirts, sanitary napkins, diapers biscuits, rusk, maida, dal, undergarments etc. were collected from 4.30 PM onwards, at the ILI campus opposite the Supreme Court.
Justice Kurian Joseph had in fact chosen to stay at the premises till midnight, and had commended the spirit of lawyers, remarking – “Law has become live now”. His presence charged-up the volunteers, inspiring his personal security staff to make contributions as well.
Further, judges of the Kerala High Court reportedly visited certain flood relief camps on Sunday, interacting with the inmates and taking stock of the condition in the camps. While Justice Shaji P. Chaly visited the camp functioning in the Maharaja’s College, Justice Devan Ramachandran and Justice Jayasankaran Nambiar visited the camps at Pallippuram.
As for the Bar, while several initiatives are being undertaken by lawyers and bar associations throughout the country, Attorney General for India KK Venugopal had donated Rupees One Crore to Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. His son and Senior Advocate Krishnan Venugopal has contributed another Fifteen Lakhs for the relief activities.
Meanwhile, all teaching and non-teaching staff of National Law University, Delhi has also contributed one day’s salary, along with other necessary items, to the relief fund. Further, the academic block of The National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi has been functioning as a relief camp, with more than 500 people having registered, and being provided with all necessities sourced from various sources.