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Advocates sidelined in inauguration of Kerala High Court E-projects: KHCAA, Bar Associations of Ernakulam, Kolencherry register protest

The event conducted on Monday was boycotted by the Kerala High Court Advocates' Association as well as the Bar Associations of the Ernakulam and Kolencherry districts.

Meera Emmanuel

Members of the Kerala Bar have registered serious grievance over having been sidelined in the virtual ceremony conducted on Monday evening to inaugurate e-projects of the Kerala High Court.

The e-projects inaugurated yesterday include an e-filing system and e-modules for bail applications, land acquisition appeals, motor accident appeal cases and obtaining certified copies electronically.

Representatives of the Bar have raised protest that the event was conducted while excluding various stakeholders such as Advocates and Advocates’ Clerks.

In a letter expressing concern over the same by Advocate General CP Sudhakara Prasad, it is stated that Senior Law officers like the Additional Advocates General and the State Attorney were "not even informed of the function, which was a giant leap forward of the High Court in expediting justice dispensation."

Whereas AG Prasad was present for the ceremony, he adds that he participated in the same "with a heavy heart, to honour my word to the E-Comitttee and because of constitutional compulsions."

Prasad added that the President of the Kerala High Court Advocates' Association (KHCAA) ought to have been an invited dignitary.

The event held on Monday evening through a zoom meeting saw the scant participation by representatives of the Kerala Bar, the AG noted.

He went on to urge the High Court Chief Justice to take steps to ensure that these stakeholders are taken into confidence in all matters concerning the High Court, including the digitisation process.

On Sunday, the KHCAA had passed a resolution to boycott the ceremony to mark their protest. The Ernakulam District Court Bar Association and the Kolencherry Bar Association also boycotted the ceremony, which had included the inauguration of an e-filing system in the munsiff courts of these districts.

“The Advocates are among the primary stakeholders of the Judicial system. When a change touching so fundamentally on the manner of practice of law is being introduced it ought to be done in an inclusive manner taking the Bar in to total confidence. The role of the Bar and its representatives cannot be that of silent spectators", states a representation made by the KHCAA President, R Lakshmi Narayan to the Chief Justice.

The June 15 representation noted that while it was informed that only a few speakers can be accommodated for the event due to time constraints, the invite published on Saturday included the State Police Chief and the Transport Commissioner as speakers.

In this backdrop, objection has been raised that, "While there is time to accommodate Police Officers, the Advocate General, the Assistant Solicitors General of India and the President of the KHCAA, President of the Kerala Senior Advocates’ Association, the President of the Kerala Women Lawyer’s Federation, and the representative of Advocate Clerks Association etc. were not given any role at all."

It added, that

"When an event of this nature is organised it should have been done through the Advocates’ Association. We should have been a part of the host rather than among the invites. Here, the Bar is reduced to a silent spectator giving prominence to Police Officers."

While taking serious exception to this, the KHCAA President clarifies that the Bar is not objecting to the introduction or implementation of the e-module filing.

All the same, it is asserted that the serious dishonour caused to the Bar by excluding its representatives in the organisation of the event cannot be ignored.

On his part, the Advocate General has now requested that the High Court ensure that the High Court Bar is given due recognition in all judicial functions of the Court.

Read the Advocate General's Letter:

Kerala AG Letter to Kerala HC Chief Justice.pdf
Preview

Read the letter by the KHCAA President:

KHCAA Representation.pdf
Preview
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