SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh High Court here mourned the death of 16 advocates, including the former chairman of the bar council, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and judges Tarlok Singh Chauhan, Sureshwar Thakur, Vivek Singh Thakur, Ajay Mohan Goel, Sandeep Sharma, Chander Bhusan Barowalia, Jyotsna Rewal Dua and Satyen Vaidya were present at a full court reference held in virtual mode for this purpose on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, Malimath said former chairman of Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh Ramakant Sharma was a soft-spoken, honest and hard-working individual.

It is very difficult to encompass in a few words Sharma’s distinguished career, he added.

The acting chief justice said a lawyer’s death was like a death in the family.

“We have lost 16 lawyers in our family due to COVID-19. Most of them were budding lawyers who had a bright future ahead of them,” he added.

Malimath offered his condolences on the demise of Sharma, H P Singh, Guljar Singh Rathore, R K Chauva, Pardeep Sharma, Chhatar Singh Thakur and Veena Devi of Shimla district.

The acting chief justice expressed grief on the demise of advocates of Kinnaur district, Harish Chander Negi and Naseeb Singh Negi.

He also offered his condolences on the death of advocates Vijay Mohan Dutt, Hari Ram Verma and Aseem Sharma of Solan district, R K Handa of Bilaspur, Beli Ram Rana of Kullu, and Suresh Thakur and B K Sood of Kangra.

Malimath assured the members of the bereaved families that the entire judicial family was standing by them in their crisis.

Advocate General Ashok Sharma, bar council chairman Ajay Kochhar, HP High Court Bar Association president Nareshwar Singh Chandel and Assistant Solicitor General of India Balram Sharma also addressed the full court reference.

A two-minute silence was also observed as a mark of respect. Registrar General Virender Singh conducted the proceedings. Other registrars of the court were also present on the occasion.