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Symbolic protest: SC lawyers collect 50 paise coins to raise Rs 100 fine imposed on Lawyer who filed plea alleging Registry bias

The collection drive is bring carried out to raise Rs 100, which was the fine imposed by the Supreme Court on Advocate Reepak Kansal for alleging bias in the Court Registry when it came to the listing of cases.

Shruti Mahajan

After the Supreme Court imposed a fine of Rs 100 on Advocate Reepak Kansal while dismissing his plea accusing the Court Registry of bias in the listing of cases, several lawyers have pledged to contribute coins of 50 paise each towards raising the amount of fine as a symbolic move to support Kansal.

Kansal was recently fined by the Supreme Court to the tune of Rs 100 while dismissing his petition which alleged bias on the part of the Supreme Court Registry in relation to the listing of cases.

Kansal had argued that a policy of “pick and choose” was adopted by the Registry in listing of matters, wherein some cases remained unlisted for days while some would be listed within hours of being filed.

Advocate Reepak Kansal
Advocate Reepak Kansal

This drive to collect Rs 50 paise coins was started a day after the judgment was delivered and once the target amount of Rs 100, that is 200 coins, is collected, the same would be submitted to the Registry.

A WhatsApp group was created in order to bring together all the lawyers who wished to register their protest in this matter and at the time of writing this story the target of 200 lawyers had already pledged their support for Kansal.

A Whatsapp group was created to bring together lawyers who wished to contribute to raising Advocate Reepak Kansal's fine
A Whatsapp group was created to bring together lawyers who wished to contribute to raising Advocate Reepak Kansal's fine

Speaking to Bar & Bench, Kansal said that he is happy that this issue is not just his personal one and that it is resonating with other members of the Bar.

"I am happy. It is not my personal issue, other lawyers have been also been facing discrimination. It is a good initiative. Members of SCBA have been supporting my voice against illegal act of registry and many Executive members are also part of this (WhatsApp) group."
Advocate Reepak Kansal

A lawyer who did not want to be named told Bar & Bench that some members of the Bar started this initiative to register their protest against the working of the Registry and in support of Kansal's cause.

"We started this movement, as a response to show that we all stand by the cause espoused by Mr. Reepak Kansal and if he has been fined, the best way to show our displeasure is to deposit it in 50 paise coins. Let Registry do some work (counting the coins)."

On July 6, the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer delivered its verdict in Kansal's plea alleging bias in the Registry. The Court stated that "a large number of petitions" filed are in defect and that unnecessary pressure is put on the assistants dealing with such cases.

The top Court noted that "to err is human" and added that such errors can creep in especially when work is being carried out to the maximum capacity during a pandemic. The Judgment said,

"We take judicial notice of the fact that a large number of petitions are filed which are defective; still, the insistence is made to list them and mention is made that they should be listed urgently. It happens in a large number of matters, and unnecessary pressure is put upon the Assistants dealing with the cases. We find due to mistakes/ carelessness when petitions with defects are filed, it should not be expected that they should be listed instantly. To err is human and there can be an error on the part of the Dealing Assistants too."

The Court has maintained that even in the High Courts, the Registry and its officers are often blamed for "no good reasons." The verdict further said,

"The Registry is nothing but an arm of this Court and an extension of its dignity. Bar is equally respected and responsible part of the integral system, Registry is part and parcel of the system, and the system has to work in tandem and mutual reverence"

Kansal's plea raising this allegation had come after his plea concerning "One nation, one ration card" had not been listed by the Registry due to defects in the same.

Kansal had compared the listing of his own petition with the listing of the plea filed by Arnab Goswami challenging various FIRs registered against him in various states. Goswami's plea was listed within a day's time and taken up for hearing by the Court.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news