Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Abhay Shreeniwas Oka at the condolence meeting held by the Advocates Association, Bengaluru (AAB) for the lawyers who lost their lives in the pandemic, cautioned that re-opening and functioning of courts should not contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
“My personal appeal to each and every member of the Bar is to please stick to COVID-19 norms. If we don’t follow COVID-19 norms, social distancing, use of masks in the presence of the Court premises, then somebody will make an allegation against us that we are running the Courts and contributing to the spread of COVID-19. That is the last allegation we want to face as the members of the legal fraternity.” Chief Justice Oka stated at the time of his address.
The Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court emphasized his contentions by quoting the Supreme Court, which in May 2020 had asserted that the functioning of the Courts cannot contribute to the spread of the deadly virus.
“It is also essential to note that we the members of the institutional fraternity are in a sense frontline-workers…the Supreme Court, in May 2020, has said that the functioning of courts cannot lead to the spreading of COVID-19, so we have to be very careful and I cannot resist the temptation to request the members of the Bar today, in the presence of our Law Minister Basavaraj Bommai.” Chief Justice Oka stated.
CJ Oka voiced his grief at the loss of 220 members of the Bar including the young ones who had succumbed to the deadly virus in the pandemic.
The Karnataka High Court Chief Justice praised the exemplary cooperation between the Bar and the Bench in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. He also appreciated the vaccination drive which was conducted by the Advocates Association, Bengaluru (AAB).
Financial assistance was provided to the families of the deceased advocates and also to those advocates who recovered from the virus at the end of the meeting.
Basavaraj Bommai, the State Law Minister during the meeting assured those present of the introduction of insurance coverage for the advocates within one month and also promised to bring the Advocates Protection Act into force.