A recent circular issued by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is bound to bring smiles on faces of lawyers associated with the Court.

On 7 January 2015, office bearer of the SCBA had ‘an extremely cordial and positive interaction’ with CJI H.L. Dattu. Following are the main take-aways from the meeting as released in the aforesaid circular:

Infrastructure:

  • The open space of the cycle stand between A.K. Sen and R.K. Garg chamber blocks will be converted into a Canteen and will be handed over to SCBA.
  • The proposed dispensary at the Court would be ready even before the promised date of 31 March 2015.
  • Reception area is being constructed next to the dispensary which will accommodate 100+ visitors.
  • Canteen and Reception areas will be useful for the young lawyers for interacting and meeting their clients.

Go Green:

  • Court shall do away with printed cause list from 1 February, 2015. which in addition to saving hundreds of trees would save more than Rs. One Crore  annually.This will also empty three rooms which were always full of papers for printing.
  • Causelists shall be emailed to the SCBA members, on application.

Crèche:

  • The three rooms freed from papers will be converted into a crèche for the benefit of lady members of the Bar. The money saved from the discontinuation of printed caused lists will be used to set up and maintain the crèche with appropriate staff and amenities.

Wi-Fi enabled campus and techie courts:

  • CJI assured that proposal for making the entire campus including all the chamber blocks as wi-fi zone was at its final stage and would be executed shortly.
  • CJI was also ‘extremely receptive’ on SCBA’s request t make court rooms more e-friendly and make registry also more effective and efficient by best use of better technology.

Easy loans to young lawyers:

  • CJI communicated that it was impressed upon the UCO Bank (which has a branch in the campus) to give library loan to younger members of the Bar, on easy terms so that they can have access to useful books and legal software. The loan scheme has already been drafted by UCO Bank and they propose to give 500 loans up to Rs. 2 lakhs to SCBA members, who may be sponsored by SCBA, on fulfilling necessary conditions.

Supreme Court Rules

  • CJI assured that he will again request the Rules Committee to invite the representatives of the SCBA to deliberate and sort out the grievances and issues with regard to new Supreme Court Rules, 2013 2013 at the earliest.

The original text of the Circular:

CIRCULAR

1.Respected Members will be pleased to know that office bearers of Supreme Court Bar Association had an extremely cordial and positive interaction with Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India on Wednesday, 7th January, 2015 where we comprehensively discussed several important issues concerning the members of the Bar, including progress of Appu Ghar Project, resolution of issues raised by the Bar with regard to New Supreme Court Rules, difficulties being faced by the members on account of sudden listing of fresh matters, delayed cause-lists, better amenities for the members of Bar, complete overhaul of washrooms in the chamber blocks etc.

2. I am happy to inform Respected members that Hon’ble CJI has kindly assured us that shortly the open space currently being used as cycle stand between A.K. Sen and R.K. Garg chamber block will be converted into a Canteen and will be handed over to SCBA to run the same for the benefit of our members.

3.Hon’ble CJI has also assured us that the progress of dispensary work is going on at a fast pace and it would be ready even before the promised date 31st March, 2015. A reception area is also being created next to the under constructed dispensary, which will be able to accommodate more than 100 visitors.

Both these places, namely the new Canteen and the reception centre, being immediately out of the high security zone, will be extremely useful for the younger members of the bar who want to interact and meet their clients in the Supreme Court premises and do not have any chambers.

4. The Supreme Court has also decided to discontinue printed cause list from 1st February, 2015. The respected Members will recall that suggestions were invited from them on this issue by SCBA circulars dated 03.11.2014 and 22.12.2014, wherein we had specifically requested the Members to reflect on the issue of discontinuation of printed cause-lists and give your feedback/inputs, so that the issue could be effectively represented by SCBA. The members would recall that the Hon’ble CJI had sought cooperation of the Bar for discontinuing the printed Cause-lists. Hon’ble CJI had informed us that this will save about Rs. 1 crore per annum in costs and save hundreds of trees in the process. We were also informed that the logistics of printing of cause-lists requires the Supreme Court to store atleast 3 rooms full of paper at all times, which is stored in rooms next to the Supreme Court canteen and also a potential fire hazard. The Delhi High Court has also recently discontinued printing of lists. Currently, 339 members subscribe to the printed cause-lists.

In response to our circular, we received very positive feedback from a large number of members who welcomed the step, however, a few members expressed their inconvenience and anxiety due to issues of network connectivity and not being computer savvy.

5. Keeping in mind the best interests of the members of the Bar as paramount, the SCBA has decided to welcome and cooperate with the Supreme Court on this issue for the following reasons:

i. We have been assured that the cause lists would be updated on the website of Supreme Court in time and will also be emailed to all members of the SCBA who are desirous of getting cause list on email. The desirous members may accordingly update their email IDs in the SCBA office at the earliest.

ii. SCBA will print some cause lists and keep them in Libraries, Ladies Bar room, Lounge etc. for the convenience of the members.

iii. We have been assured that 3 rooms which are full of papers all the times next to SCBA Plaza Canteen will be freed up and appropriate area out of that will be converted into a crèche for the benefit of lady members of the Bar.

iiii. The money saved by Supreme Court on account of discontinuation of printed list will be used to set up and maintain the crèche with appropriate staff and amenities.

v. Hon’ble CJI has also assured us that proposal for making the entire campus as wi-fi zone is at its final stage and would be executed shortly. Hon’ble CJI also readily accepted our request to include all the chamber blocks also, in the said proposals. Our request for signal boosters and e-kiosks at convenient places in the Supreme Court premises, so that our members can have access to Supreme court website, cause lists, case status etc. conveniently also found favour with the Hon’ble CJI.

vi. The SCBA has decided that to avoid hardship to those members of the Bar, who are not computer savvy and therefore find out it inconvenient to check up the cause list online and do not have support staff to print the cause list in their offices, SCBA will take printout of the cause lists from the Supreme Court website, which can be collected from SCBA Office or delivered in chamber blocks.

In this regard, SCBA requests those members who currently subscribe to the cause lists and wish to continue to get printed cause list to immediately respond to us and communicate their requirement for printed cause list, in writing by 20th January, 2015. We propose to have this arrangement on quarterly basis and estimated cost per quarter is likely to be between Rs.10,000/- to Rs.15000/-.

However, we earnestly and sincerely request all members to cooperate with Supreme Court and SCBA on this important and positive step and try to make arrangements for printing of cause list in their own office.

6.Hon’ble CJI was also extremely receptive on making court rooms more e-friendly and make registry also more effective and efficient by best use of better technology.

7. Hon’ble CJI has also graciously informed us that he had impressed upon UCO Bank to give library loan to younger members of the Bar, on easy terms so that they can have access to useful books and legal software which are very useful tools for all lawyers. We were informed that the loan scheme has already been drafted by UCO Bank and they propose to give 500 loans up to Rs.2 lakhs to SCBA members, who may be sponsored by SCBA, on fulfilling necessary conditions.

8. Hon’ble CJI has also assured us that he will again request the Rules Committee of Hon’ble Judges, to invite the representatives of the SCBA to deliberate and sort out the grievances and issues with regard to new Supreme Court Rules-2013 at the earliest. In this regard also if the members have noticed or experienced any more difficulties, in addition to the issues already raised in the comprehensive representation of SCBA, the same may be communicated to us at the earliest.

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