In the larger interest of the bar, the Supreme Court on Monday urged a petitioner to withdraw the petition challenging the recent allotment of newly constructed chambers on twin-sharing basis.
The petitioner said his chamber was too small to be shared and sought it should be allotted on single occupancy basis.
The bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud explained twin sharing will ensure that every lawyer will get a chamber which would be a boon in a city like Delhi with extreme weather.
Justice Chandrachud said, “Whatever you do will hurt members of the bar. There are lawyers waiting since 1975. When you say single allotment, automatically the lawyers are cut to half. You must also look at how difficult this will be as opposed to people sitting outside in the Delhi heat.”
The senior judge reminded how he used to function out of a chamber which was only 120 square feet in area even when he was Additional Solicitor General.
“I had a chamber of 120 square feet in Mumbai. But still we conducted our affairs. Delhi is also becoming like Mumbai,” he said.
Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade added, “Senior Advocate (Fali) Nariman used to conduct his affairs from the hallways of the court.”
Senior Advocate P.S. Patwalia, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that a 3-member committee overseeing chamber allotment had agreed to single allotment after objections to the initial decision to have twin allotment.
“In July 2019, a decision was taken that chambers will be allotted on double allotment basis. We challenged it saying it was a 9 by 16 room and thus not possible. Later, double allotment was suspended and a committee was formed. Then there was demand for more chambers. The 3-member committee then saw the chambers and said it should be single allotment,” he said.
Patwalia said that earlier committee had agreed on the single allotment but it’s recommendation were suspended and a new committee was formed which decided for the double allotment.
Justice Chandrachud, however, said that cancelling allotment now or reverting to single allotment would mean that half the allottees would lose out.
“Let us do this in spirit of unity which will benefit everyone of this court. We will permit you to withdraw this and approach the committee…To assert that there should only be single allotment means that half your colleagues also lose out,“ he remarked.
Patwalia persisted saying that as per the rule, it was always supposed to be single allotment.
“I tried to divide the chamber in any way but not possible. You need a lawyer, a clerk someone in your chamber. But it’s not possible. Please defer allotment till representation is decided,” he requested.
The Court did not pass any interim order so far.
“No no, all members of the committee are members of this bar also. We are not granting any stay. We will keep after 2 weeks,” the Court said.
The court proceeded to allow the petitioner to file a written representation and listed the matter to be heard after two weeks.