Calcutta High Court Bar Association EC Members Write To CJ Against 'Alleged' GB Resolution To Boycott Some Benches
Two elected Executive Committee members of the Calcutta High Court Bar Association have today written to Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava terming the resolution reportedly passed in the General Body of the Association on Thursday, as "illegal, purported and alleged".
A unanimous resolution of the General Body of the Association signed by the Secretary and Treasurer of the Association on Thursday requested the Chief Justice of the Court to consider their demands/grievances on a war footing. The resolution unanimously supported the contents of a letter of the same date of the member of the Association to the Chief Justice.
By the said resolution, the members had resolved to abstain from attending work in Court Rooms 1 and 13 unless their grievances are redressed properly. Court No. 1 is that of the Chief Justice while Court No. 13 is that of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha.
The Resolution states – "It has been decided that unless the issues are redressed within September 2, 2022 by 1:00 PM in writing, specially with regard to present determination issue may be kept in abeyance for the time being till the determination and grievance are addressed properly, otherwise, the members may refrain themselves from attending the judicial work in court room 1 & 13 for which the administration of the Hon'ble Court would be solely responsible."
Subsequent to the said resolution and letter, a letter was issued by the Registrar General of the High Court on Thursday itself to the Advocate General, Additional Solicitor General, President of the Association etc. informing that a Committee of three Judges, Justice I. P. Mukerji, Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj has been constituted to consider the grievance raised in the representation.
However, today's letter by the members of the Executive Committee state that "no notice for any such alleged General Body Meeting was given and/or any alleged letter dated 1.9.2022 was placed in any meeting of the elected members".
The letter says that the "alleged resolution to boycott any Hon'ble Bench and/or Court is per se against the objects of the Bar Association and also against the interest of the members of the Bar at large". The letter also says that the call for a boycott of Courts is against Judgments of the Supreme Court.
"The members of the Bar have also been requested to attend the Court proceedings in normal manner and not be persuaded by any alleged and purported resolution, which is illegal, against the object of the Bar Association and contemptuous as to resolve any disagreement and/or any problem faced by any section of Advocates, the same is required to be resolved amicably between the Bar and the Bench", says the letter written by EC members Advocates Amrita Pandey and Mary Dutta.
The grievances of the members of the Bar, as stated in the alleged Resolution–
1. That the Master of the Roster may kindly adhere to the classification list framed under the rules of the Hon'ble Court, any deviation from the classification list should be done upon a full court reference coupled with the office bearers (Secretary/President) of the Bar Association and other wings of the Bar for a decision.
Further the Resolution states – "As it appears from the determination list published on 31st August 2022 a further classification so sought to have been made beyond the boundaries of the classification list on the prevailing field. It is something unheard of that the Group IX Bench incorporating CBI and Central Agencies has been assigned separately to the particular Bench against whom various allegations including palpable bias causing assumption of the position against the police in view of the allegation of overuse of his position and consequential alleged deprivation of complainant rights. Sub classification in Group IX in particular police inaction referred to in Table III Chapter 39A. It is therefore not appreciated that why there is a sudden change/division from the rules of his Hon'ble Court including the rules relating to listing. The emphasis of determination of the Ld. Judge in question with regard to "on Police (including CBI and Central Agencies)" is not appreciated."
2. Additionally, the members of the Bar have also stated that some Court has been opened in the Sesquicentenary building which is causing difficulty to them. This has happened despite the fact there has already been a resolution that members will not attend the particular Court that would be in the Sesquicentenary building when court rooms are available in the old building.
3. The members have further stated that the old tradition of the percentage of representation of the Bar and from Service with regard to the appointment of Judges be maintained.
"The System of listing should be transparent and as per the old system which was prevalent listing of each and every matter on returnable date must be ensured."
4. Furthermore, the members have urged that there has been no meeting on the issue of the grant of designation of Senior Advocates. Such issue must be resolved immediately.
5. "No steps have been taken for the recommendation of the name of the Learned Advocates from the Bar Association for elevation. As per the old tradition of percentage of representation of the Bar and from service with regard to appointment of Judges be maintained which would allow judicial system to develop successfully considering members of the Bar maybe, due to their experience in to their specialized field maybe more appropriate to dispense Justice in," the Resolution states.
6. While stating that such unprecedented fixation and or assignment of determination directly affected the cordial relationship between Bar and Bench, the members have urged, "The Bar and Bench should perform diligently and effectively in order to enable the system in its best way."
On Monday, a letter was addressed to the Chief Justice by over a hundred lawyers of the Calcutta High Court urging him to take suo moto cognizance of rising threats to Judges across the State of West Bengal. The said letter highlighted that in the recent past, there had been an unprecedented incident wherein the Bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay was sought to be boycotted by a section of the Advocates.