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Flaws of Supreme Court Bar

Flaws of Supreme Court Bar

Recently, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) marked its 50th anniversary with an event hosted at the Everest Hotel in Baneshwar. The commemoration, however, came with certain participation requirements set by the organizing committee, including a compulsory entry fee of Rs 2,500 per person and the obligatory wearing of an ID card throughout the event.

This meticulous approach regulating entry may have been intended to ensure that only those who had duly paid the fees and were legitimate members of SCBA were granted access.

At present, the Supreme Court Bar boasts an impressive roster of over 700 registered members. Despite this substantial membership base, the event witnessed a notably modest turnout, with fewer than 250 members in attendance, signaling a proportionately low participation rate.

In reflecting on the Golden Jubilee of the Bar, one cannot help but ponder on potential avenues that could have been explored to augment accessibility and inclusivity for all members. An alternative approach might have been the reduction or complete elimination of entry fees, thereby allowing every member, regardless of financial constraints, to actively engage in the celebratory occasion.

The organizing committee could have also contemplated collecting fees under different titles at a later stage to mitigate the impact on immediate financial burdens. Regrettably, the adherence to stringent fee restrictions resulted in a substantial majority of the Bar’s members being unable to participate in this historically significant event, leading to widespread disappointment among the legal community.

Also, within the legal profession, it is imperative to uphold certain practices that foster an environment devoid of discrimination. Regardless of one’s age, level of experience, or seniority, it is incumbent upon Bar members to extend equal respect and salutations to their peers. This principle is not only a matter of professional courtesy but also contributes to the overall harmonious functioning of the legal fraternity.

Notably, the courtroom serves as a microcosm of this ethos, where judges and fellow advocates alike bestow equal respect upon each other. This mutual regard not only exemplifies the nobility of the legal profession but also underscores the shared commitment to justice and fairness. It is this egalitarian approach that enhances the professional camaraderie and upholds the dignity of the legal practice.

Bar vs Bench

However, despite these commendable aspects, a discernible gap and tension have begun to surface between the Bar and the Bench. This development is less than ideal for a seamless functioning of the legal system. Addressing and mitigating these emerging conflicts should be a priority, as they threaten to undermine the very essence of a profession built on principles of justice, integrity and mutual respect. Nurturing a collaborative and cooperative relationship between the Bar and the Bench is essential to preserve the beauty and efficacy of the legal profession in its entirety.

Numerous decisions emanating from SCBA and the comprehensive pronouncements of the Supreme Court’s full bench have inadvertently given rise to a discernible gap between the Bar and the Bench. The continuation of these divisions holds the potential to foster discrimination between judges and advocates, thereby casting an unfavorable shadow upon the legal community as a whole. The symbiotic relationship between the Bar and the Bench risks being marred by these persistent gaps, ultimately affecting the harmony that should ideally characterize both communities.

Even during significant events organized by the Bar, such as the Golden Jubilee celebration program, instances of discrimination have been observed. The placement of senior members in the front rows and juniors relegated to the back rows during such events has raised eyebrows among Bar members. This practice, far from being well-received, has contributed to a growing sense of discrimination within the legal fraternity.

In recent years, the leadership of the Bar has faced challenges marked by a perceived lack of strength and professionalism. The prevalence of political appointments occupying leadership positions has overshadowed the appointment of individuals with a strong professional background. The presence of opportunistic leaders has made it arduous for the Bar to function cohesively. Consequently, this leadership vacuum has not only affected the Bar’s internal dynamics but has also become a source of discord, as the Bench and Court leadership have, in turn, started displaying discriminatory tendencies towards the Bar.

It is imperative for the Bar to reassess its leadership selection process and prioritize individuals of high moral standing and unwavering commitment to the legal profession. A leadership characterized by ethical values and a genuine dedication to the legal field will undoubtedly fortify the Bar and contribute to its strength. The same principle holds true for the Bench, emphasizing the need for ethical and dedicated individuals in leadership positions to maintain the delicate balance between the Bar and the Bench, ensuring a harmonious and equitable legal community.

The author, a member of the Supreme Court Bar, has been practicing corporate law for around three decades