The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has written to the Chief Justice of India over the denial of permission to use the Apex Court auditorium for the farewell of Justice Indu Malhotra, who retired on March 13, Saturday.
According to the letter, the possession of the land in Appu Ghar was made available to the Supreme Court on a petition filed by the SCBA originally in the High Court and later on before the Supreme Court. The SCBA filed that litigation on the specific understanding that the land once allotted and possession handed over to the Supreme Court, would be used jointly by the Judges and Registry of the Supreme Court as well as by the SCBA.
“While the Registry requires more space to cater to the additional work being handled by the Registry, similarly the SCBA also requires additional space to cater to the accretion in the number of members in the Association as also providing for additional library space, additional waiting areas, as well as additional area required for canteen and lunch rooms, lockers, etc,” the letter said.
The letter signed by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, the SCBA President, has highlighted that it was clearly discussed in his earlier tenure as SCBA President that the facilities would be created for the joint utilization of the SCBA as well as the Judges of the Supreme Court with the only rider that if the facilities were being required by both simultaneously, then the Judges will have precedence.
“It appears that in the tenure of Rakesh Khanna as President of SCBA, a decision was taken by the then Hon’ble Chief Justice of India that the facilities would only be used by and for the official functions of the Judges or of the Supreme Court meaning thereby that the SCBA is not allowed to use the auditorium for any purpose,” said the letter.
The letter said it was most unfortunate that the Auditorium was denied at the time when the SCBA was giving its farewell to Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra.
The SCBA pointed out that the Bombay High Court which happens to be parent High Court too, permits the Bar Association to even use a courtroom for the functions of the Bar and it is completely arbitrary to consider the Bar a stranger for the purposes of utilizing the facilities created in the Supreme Court.
Moreover, it was informed by the Bar that the public money has been wasted in the unplanned construction resulting in not being able to utilize the chambers for the last 2 years and more money being wasted in changing the size of the chambers, resulting in further delay in allotment of the chambers to the lawyers alike.