50 paise, ek khoj: Novel protest by SC lawyers

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The Supreme Court lawyers moved into a novel, symbolic protest today (July 17), by initiating the collection of 50 paise coins to pay a fine of Rs 100, slapped on a fellow lawyer. These coins aren’t easily available today, but the campaign to find the coins continues. The lawyers need 200 such coins to pay the fine, out of which 75 coins have been deposited so far. When the quota of 200 coins have been collected, they will be deposited in the registry.

This symbolic protest of the lawyers is against the Supreme Court imposing the fine of Rs 100 on Supreme Court lawyer Reepak Kansal.

Lawyer Kansal had accused the registry of the Supreme Court that the registry puts the cases of big lawyers and influential people in the list of hearing before the cases of others. Advocate Kansal had filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the Court Registry regularly gives ‘VVIP treatment’ to some law firms, influential lawyers and their cases, which is against equal opportunity to get justice in the Supreme Court .

The petition demanded from the Supreme Court that the ‘pick and choose’ policy should not be adopted in listing the cases for hearing and the court registry should be instructed to be fair and equitable.

The Supreme Court judges, Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice M.R. Shah’s Bench, while dismissing the allegations made in the petition of Kansal, imposed a notional fine of Rs 100. The court also said in its judgment that “all the members of the registry work day and night to make your life easier, you are discouraging them. How can you make such allegations? The registry is not subordinate to us. It is a part of the Supreme Court to a large extent.”

Reepak Kansal had mentioned another petition as evidence in his petition which was given VIP treatment for hearing. The petition was filed in the Supreme Court at eight o’clock at night and was listed for hearing within an hour for the next day.

However, the petition filed by himself seeking ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ was not listed immediately, he contended. Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice M.R. Shah’s bench expressed displeasure at this for calling Arnab Goswami’s case an example of ‘preferential priority’. The court said: “How can one compare your petition with Arnab Goswami on ‘One Nation One Ration Card’? What was the request? Why are you talking meaningless stuff?”

It is important to note that the charge that Reepak Kansal has made against the court is not new. Everyone knows that all the lawyers of Supreme Court are victims, but who would mention this in front of the judges? That is why the talk was only in the inside. When Kansal raised his voice, the lawyers thought that someone has tried to tie the ‘bell on the neck of the cat’.

That is why the Supreme Court Bar Association’s lawyers are making a symbolic protest against the decision of the court to impose a fine on Reepak. They feel that the things that Kansal had said in his petition are correct, in this case the court has not corrected them by imposing a fine. For this symbolic protest, the lawyers have started raising funds to collect 100 rupees. For this, a group named ‘Contribute Rs 100’ has been created on WhatsApp. In which so far, more than 125 lawyers have spoken about supporting Reapak Kansal and all together have been trying to find a coin of 50 paise.

– India Legal Bureau

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