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SC turns down bar assn's plea for plot of land, asks it to approach admin side

Source: PTI
March 23, 2023 19:14 IST
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Observing that issues pertaining to the change of land use should be addressed on the administrative side, the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Supreme Court Bar Association's plea to allot an entire tract of land, which was allotted to the apex court, for conversion into a chamber block for lawyers.

The top court said the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) cannot assert a right over entire land admeasuring 1.33 acres situated near the ITO, which has been allotted by the Union government for housing the Supreme Court Archives, for converting it into a chamber block for lawyers. 

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said matters such as those raised in the petition cannot be resolved by the application of judicial standards and have to be taken up on the administrative side of the Supreme Court.


The apex court said a holistic view has to be taken on the allocation of available resources by balancing the needs of stakeholders both for the present and the future.

The top court was hearing a plea by the SCBA to convert the land, allotted to the top court, for the construction of chambers for lawyers.

"We are categorically of the view that it would not be appropriate to entertain a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking a direction that the entirety of the land admeasuring 1.33 acres should be allotted for the construction of a chamber block for lawyers," the bench said.

The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and P S Narasimha, said the Supreme Court discharges both judicial and administrative functions and this implicates diverse stakeholders, including lawyers, litigants and the staff engaged in its activities.

Administrative functioning and decision-making, which the current issue requires, cannot be moved to the judicial side, it said.

The top court also rejected the SCBA's plea seeking conversion of the entire area around the top court as a Supreme Court Block so that all buildings across the Supreme Court on Bhagwan Das Road can be utilised for conversion to lawyers' chambers.

It also said SCBA's plea seeking allotment of a government bungalow presently occupied by the Foreign Correspondents' Club cannot be entertained and such directions cannot be issued on the judicial side.

"We, therefore, are unable to subscribe to the reliefs which have been sought in the petition under Article 32. However, we leave it open to the Supreme Court of India on its administrative side to take appropriate decisions bearing in mind the needs of the institution for the present and the future and the interest of all stakeholders," the bench said.

The top court said the process of decision-making would also involve consultation with the bar.

"Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, SCBA and Bar Council of India would be at liberty to address the issue with their representations on the administrative side," it said.

The SCBA had written to the CJI requesting him for representation on the permanent committee which deals with the creation of infrastructure and its utilisation by the bar.

The top court had earlier witnessed a heated exchange of words between the CJI and Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh while hearing the plea. 

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