The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has written to the Editor in Chief of Times of India, with reference to an article published in TOI titled “Crorepati Bleeding-Heart Lawyers Fail to Walk the Talk” clarifying its stand on the concerned issue and requesting TOI to publish the same.
The article published by Times of India had stated that super-rich lawyers of the Supreme Court who command respect and money in equal measure, have been reluctant to donate even a fraction of their daily earnings to help SCBA’s initiative to give a grant of Rs 20,000 to advocates who are facing financial hardship due to drastic reduction in litigation during coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
Mr. Rohit Pandey, the Acting Secretary of SCBA expressing the view of the association with reference to the article has stated in his letter that the Welfare Scheme of SCBA is based on voluntary contributions by Members and therefore it is neither in good taste nor proper, for a newspaper of such good standing to comment on members who made contributions and who did not. The Comparisons are odious, and when it comes to donations or charity during times of crisis or otherwise, it isn’t correct or fair to make comparisons of the donors or of those who did not make any donations.
He also adds that many members of the SCBA have made substantial contributions to the Prime Minister’s Fund or Funds under Chief Ministers, or to NGOs helping distressed persons, stranded workers, or to different High Court Bar Associations. Since each donor has personal priorities and constraints, it isn’t not in the fitness of things to suggest by name as to who has donated and who has not. The EC of SCBA never intended to question the intention of those who had donated elsewhere, or could not donate due to their own prior commitments or compulsions.
The letter goes on to clarify that the EC has no doubt that the senior correspondent or the Reporter who wrote the article did not intend such a consequence, and therefore it wishes to also clarify that the views expressed in the reports are not the views of the EC, and making of donations to any worthy cause during this pandemic and the ensuing national Crisis is noble and praise-worthy.
According to the letter, the Association distances itself from commenting on the personal actions of any person or member contributing or not contributing to any cause and does not feel that any member of the SCBA is under a compulsion to donate to the Schemes.
The EC, through the letter has therefore requested Times of India to publish a clarification as mentioned in the letter as soon as possible to remove any misgivings.
-India Legal Bureau