City lawyers wel­come 365- day court sched­ule

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Urvi Ma­ha­jani @ urvijm

At a time when a ma­jor­ity of lawyers’ as­so­ci­a­tions in the coun­try are op­pos­ing the sug­ges­tion by the new chief jus­tice RM Lodha that there should be a 365- day work sched­ule for courts, the Bom­bay Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion ( BLA) has wel­comed the move, say­ing that it will benefi t lit­i­gants.

As per the CJI’s re­quest, the Bar Coun­cil of In­dia ( BCI) con­vened a meet­ing with all state bar coun­cils last week, which saw a vir­tual re­bel­lion against the CJI’s sug­ges­tion. How­ever, the Bom­bay Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, which has 100 mem­bers, has wel­comed the sug­ges­tion.

The BLA has writ­ten a let­ter to the CJI and to Union law min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad, al­leg­ing that it is only a few “infl uen­tial group of ad­vo­cates” who are not will­ing to ac­cept the sug­ges­tion as they are in­ter­ested in keep­ing func­tion­ing of courts “lawyer- cen­tric” and op­pose any move which makes it “lit­i­gant- cen­tric”.

“This group has been con­trol­ling all the Bar coun­cils and Bar as­so­ci­a­tions and us­ing them as an in­stru­ment of power rather than a plat­form for ser­vice. They have been main­tain­ing mo­nop­oly over these in­sti­tu­tions and us­ing them for pri­vate gain. Un­less this mo­nop­oly is bro­ken... this group will al­ways suc­ceed in main­tain­ing sta­tus quo,” reads the let­ter.

The let­ter also sug­gests that Bar coun­cils and Bar as­so­ci­a­tions be made true rep­re­sen­ta­tive bod­ies of ad­vo­cates by carv­ing out reser­va­tion of seats for women ad­vo­cates, ju­nior ad­vo­cates and ad­vo­cates be­long­ing to other so­cial and eco­nom­i­cally back­ward sec­tions.

Ra­jiv Cha­van, pres­i­dent of the Ad­vo­cates As­so­ci­a­tion of Western In­dia, said they are yet to dis­cuss the is­sue. “The BCI had called for a meet­ing in which it was sug­gested that a com­mit­tee of em­i­nent ad­vo­cates be set up to ex­am­ine the CJI’s pro­posal and in­ter­act with the head of the ju­di­ciary on this is­sue,” said Cha­van.

A lawyer, on con­di­tion of anonymity, said that the sug­ges­tion was not un­rea­son­able as there were an­other means of tack­ling pen­dency of cases. “First, the va­can­cies in the judges’ posts in all the courts should be filled. There is no point in lawyers work­ing 365 days a year when judges are not be­ing ap­pointed,” he said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive photo The Bom­bay Lawyers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, which has 100 mem­bers, has wel­comed the CJI’s sug­ges­tion. The BLA has writ­ten a let­ter to the CJI and to Union law min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad, al­leg­ing that it is only a few “infl uen­tial group of ad­vo­cates” who are not will­ing to ac­cept the sug­ges­tion as they are in­ter­ested in keep­ing func­tion­ing of courts “lawyer­centric” and op­pose any move which makes it “lit­i­gant- cen­tric”.

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