New Delhi, Oct 8 : The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to entertain a petition by a lawyers’ association seeking direction to the Centre to grant Rs 20 lakh interest-free loan to its members amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the court is not inclined to entertain multiplicity of litigation on the same issue. The counsel for the petitioner, Supreme Court Arguing Counsel Association, said that it is a registered body and Chief Justice being head of the family must consider granting some relief to it.
The Chief Justice replied, “Then listen to the head of the family and be good children.” The bench asked the petitioner to apply for intervention in other similar matters pending before the court. “Counsel appearing for the petitioner-Association prays for withdrawal of this petition with liberty to file application for intervention in the pending matters. Prayer is allowed. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn with the liberty aforesaid”, said the top court in its order.
On September 24, the Supreme Court had put across a volley of questions to ascertain the credentials of the Supreme Court Arguing Counsel Association, which filed a plea seeking an interest-free loan for lawyers.
Chief Justice Bobde and Justices Bopanna and Ramasubramanian were a bit surprised with the name of the association and asked a range of questions to understand its credentials. The Chief Justice had said, “Is this a registered association? What are the activities of this association, who is running it, who are the members, who is running the show?” The Chief Justice emphasised that the bench is keen on this information, as the petition has been filed under Article 32.
The counsel for the association submitted before the bench that its members argue before the top court every day. “In these COVID times, we are doing a lot of work for the members during the pandemic”, said the petitioner’s counsel. The bench told the counsel that it does not doubt its motive. The Chief Justice said, “We are glad that you are doing good work for your members.” He added that the credentials need to be brought on record by way of an affidavit and granted time to file an affidavit citing its credentials.
The lawyers’ association has moved the top court seeking a direction to the Centre to waive interest on loans availed by its members, in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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