LACK OF space, new books and air-conditioners are some of the problems being faced by the Library of Allahabad High Court Bar Association (HCBA).
Though there are about 7000 members of the Bar but the capacity of reading hall is only to accommodate 30 lawyers. As a result, many lawyers have no option but to stand in the reading hall to have a glance of law journals or bare Acts.
An employee of the library, on condition of anonymity, said that no book has been purchased after 2002 for the library.
However, we regularly purchase 'Bare Acts' and 'Law Journals', he said.
There is only one computer in the library, though there should be at least four computers so that C Ds could be prepared which could be of great use for the lawyers, he added.
The employees of the library say that books could not be purchased for the last several years due to lack of funds. Earlier, the HCBA was able to generate some funds when it used to distribute daily cause list.
But after the start of the distribution of cause list by the High Court administration, the Bar has only one source of fund i.e. annual subscription being deposited by the lawyers, who are members of the Bar. In practice, the annual subscriptions are being deposited in large number only when the election of HCBA comes closer.
When asked about the purchase of books, one employee said at present HCBA did not have money to distribute salary to its employees, nothing to talk about purchasing of books. Former chairman of Bar Council of India and a senior advocate of High Court, VC Mishra, who was elected president of HCBA several times says that HCBA's Library does not have space to keep new books. He said that the library, canteen, Bar Association hall, which we had in 1957, when there were 200 members, still continues to be the same. Now, in 2006, when the number of members have reached to 7000, we have the same accommodation which we had in 1957.
He said that during his presidentship, he had got the reading hall expanded by including some parts of gown room varandah. According to him, at one point of time, one hall was going to be allotted for expansion of HCBA, but the same was given to the Advocates' Association.
Now, Mishra said, all office-bearers of HCBA should meet the chief justice and request him to provide more space for expansion of HCBA and its Library.
When contacted, the president of HCBA CL Pandey said that due to lack of space, we are not in a position to expand the library.
We could not purchase books as we do not have space to keep them. We want to have some counters for internet enquiry regarding the cases, but we cannot do it due to lack of space.
He said that this issue was raised before the High Court administration, but it did not pay any heed. "Space is the only problem due to which the infrastructure could not be developed. Since the majority of lawyers do not have personal library, they bank on library of HCBA. If sufficient books are available in HCBA's library, the standard of Bar could be raised to great extent''.
Secretary of HCBA, Rakesh Pandey said that HCBA had a proposal for the betterment of HCBA's library. To implement this proposal, we would arrange some money by December 2006 and thereafter two computers would be purchased to start on-line journals, which would be of great use for lawyers.
These on-line journals provide case laws of Supreme Court from 1950 till date.
Besides, the Joint Secretary (Press) of HCBA has made efforts to get some valuable books returned which were borrowed by the lawyers from the library. We are planning to re-start the lending of books if the lawyers deposit the cost of the book.