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"There is no effort made... What the Bar Association and Bar Council cannot do collectively, we will do through Court order", the Bench orally remarked today.
Expressing its displeasure over the failure of the Karnataka State Bar Council (KSBC) and Advocates Association, Bengaluru (AAB) in raising funds for Advocates' Clerks in financial distress amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Karnataka High Court today observed that it would directly appeal to the senior advocates of the Bar in this regard.
A division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty orally observed,
Advocate Anil Kumar appearing on behalf of KSBC had informed the Court that although they had approached many senior advocates, no funds have been generated yet for the benefit of the Advocates' clerks.
The Bench queried, "How many senior advocates have you contacted so far?"
In response, Kumar clarified that a resolution has to be first passed in the Bar Council. He also added that a pick and choose method cannot be adopted to approach senior lawyers..
"Therefore, you are saying that you will take your own sweet time to pass a resolution", Chief Justice Oka remarked.
Kumar conveyed that if additional time is granted, he would ensure that some benefit is certainly made available for the registered members of the Petitioner Association.
The Court, however, firmly declined this request and proceeded to post the matter for the day after tomorrow, i.e., June 4.
In its order, the Bench further went on to direct AAG Dhyan Chinnappa to submit list of 10 senior advocates on the next date of hearing so that the Court may directly make an appeal to them to contribute funds for the Advocates' clerks in financial distress.
During the hearing, the Court also took note of the fact that a few lawyers were creating a scene at 9:30 am today in front of the Court premises , urging to close down the Court completely.
"If we close down the Court due to the non-cooperation of the lawyers, then the Advocates clerks will suffer", CJ Oka observed. Apart from clerks, even litigants would be at the receiving end of this, the Bench observed.
Therefore, the Court has urged the Bar Council and Bar Association to issue notices to the agitating members.
"See, the Bar Council is not ineffective," the Court said.
Karnataka High Court
If, in case no action is taken against such lawyers, then the Court would expand the scope for the COVID-19 PIL pending to monitor the migrant crisis and delve into this question as well, the Bench cautioned.
These observations were made today in a plea moved by Bangalore-based association of clerks working for various advocates and law firms in the State of Karnataka, urging the Court to direct the State Government to form a Rs 5 crores fund for their welfare amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Karnataka High Court had recently asked the state government to consider in what manner it could help needy members of the Karnataka State Level Advocates Clerks Association who were adversely affected owing to closure of Courts amid the COVID-19 Lockdown.