Wed, 22 Mar 2023

New Delhi [India], March 17 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday while hearing a petition by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) seeking to convert 1.33 acres of land of the Supreme Court, allotted by the Centre,into a chamber block for lawyers, remarked how can it take over the buildings judicially, to expand its premises.

The Supreme Court further suggested to take up the issue with the government administratively.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and also comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice PV Narasimha expressed its inclination to take up the issue with the government on the administrative side.

The court, which reserved the order, said that how can it do this judicially to take over all buildings across the Supreme Court including the Foreign Correspondents' Club.

"We can take it up with the government administratively. This has been the old tradition of the judiciary in our country," the court said.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for SCBA, said that several buildings were taken to expand Delhi High Court. The court said that this was done on the administrative decision taken by the government.

CJI DY Chandrachud remarked that "lawyers are a part of the institution and said that if it uses judicial orders then the message will be like look what is the Supreme Court doing. You are taking judicial powers and using it for your expansion, today it is land, tomorrow it will be something else."The court cited the example of e-courts projects whereby the government allotted 7000 crores of funds for the project and said that the government does engage with them on the administrative side.

Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing on the behalf of Supreme Court Advocate on Record Association, said about the requirement of chambers for AORs. She said that AORs, who are an integral part of the institution, need to have chambers close to the court. She asked for their requirements to be considered.

The court said that it will take into account all stakeholders but on a proper administrative level.

Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, who is chairperson of the Bar Council of India, said that the bar council has no place to accommodate some time when they have to conduct legal education programmes and seminars.

Attorney General R Venkataramani said that the flexibility of the administrative side will be beneficial.

After hearing the submission of all the parties, the court reserved the matter for order.

When the hearing began, SCBA President Vikas Singh said that the bar is grateful to the court for hearing them and they will never do anything to undermine the authority of this institution irrespective of whatever happens in this case.

The court was hearing a plea filed by the Supreme Court Bar Association. Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appeared for the association. The plea was filed through an advocate-on-record Yugandhara Pawar Jha.

In the plea, SCBA has urged the top court to issue a direction to the Ministry of Urban Development to grant permission for the conversion of the entire land admeasuring 1.33 acres allotted to the Supreme Court behind the petrol pump near ITO as a chamber block for lawyers.

The petitioner also sought to direct the ministry to convert the entire area around the Supreme Court as a Supreme Court Complex so that all the buildings across the Supreme Court on Bhagwan Das Road including the Foreign Correspondents Club of South Asia, Indian Law Institute, Indian Society of International Law among others can be utilized either for conversion into the chamber or for re-development as chamber block/use for the activities of the Supreme Court or for other amenities for lawyers.

The plea also sought to issue direction to the ministry to allot the government bungalow presently being occupied by the Foreign Correspondents Club to the petitioner. (ANI)

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