- Repeated strike by lawyers affects the functioning of courts
- Bar Council of India became serious about this matter, meeting convened
- Representatives of Bar Councils of all states will attend the meeting.
The Bar Council of India has called a meeting of the Bar Councils of the states to reduce the strike of lawyers and to make rules for taking action against the lawyers who instigate others through social media for the strike. The BCI gave this information to the Supreme Court. BCI chairman and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra told a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah that they have called a meeting of all State Bar Councils on September 4.
BCI told this to the Supreme Court
Mishra said, ‘We will hold a meeting of all the State Bar Councils and Associations on September 4 and in this we propose to make rules to reduce the strike of lawyers and take action against the lawyers who instigate other people for strike through social media. Will keep it.’ The bench recorded Mishra’s representation and said that it appreciates the BCI’s move. The top court adjourned the further hearing of the case to the third week of September on the request of Mishra.
At the beginning of the hearing, Mishra apologized for the delay in complying with the court’s order last year due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and for not giving prior suggestions. The Supreme Court had on July 26 said that it had delivered its verdict on February 28 last year and directed the BCI and state bar councils to give concrete suggestions to deal with the problem of lawyers absenting themselves from work and going on strike.
Lawyers’ strike continues
The top court had on February 28 last year expressed displeasure over the strike by lawyers in Uttarakhand district courts on every Saturday for 35 years due to reasons like ‘bomb blasts in Pakistan’ and ‘earthquake in Nepal’. It had warned of taking action related to contempt proceedings against the lawyers who continued the weekly strike. Terming the strike as illegal, the court had sought response from the BCI and all State Bar Councils within six weeks for suggestions on further course of action to deal with the problem of lawyers going on strike/not coming to work.
The issue of lawyers’ strike came up during the hearing of an appeal filed against a decision of the Uttarakhand High Court. In this judgment, the High Court had declared illegal strike or boycott of courts on every Saturday in most parts of Dehradun and Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar. Describing the order of the High Court as fully justified, the bench said that it is a proper case for initiating contempt proceedings on its own.
Referring to the report of the Law Commission
The High Court had also referred to the 266th report of the Law Commission in its judgment on September 25, 2019. In this report, the commission, after analyzing the data on loss of working days due to lawyers’ strike, said that it affects the functioning of courts and contributes to the increase in the number of pending cases.
According to the information sent by the High Court to the Law Commission about Uttarakhand, lawyers in Dehradun district went on strike for 455 days during 2012-2016, while in Haridwar there was a strike of 515 days. Referring to the Law Commission’s report, the High Court in its judgment had observed that lawyers remain absent from the courts on issues ranging from local issues to national and international issues which have no relation with the functioning of the court.
Weekly strike continues for 35 years!
The High Court had said that for example, school bombings in Pakistan, amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution, inter-state water dispute, attack or murder of a lawyer, earthquake in Nepal, condolence on the death of a close relative of advocates and here Even issues like heavy rains and Kavi Sammelans have become reasons for boycotting the court proceedings.
The High Court, in its judgment, referred to the fact that for the last 35 years in western Uttar Pradesh, there is a process of protest by boycotting the court proceedings on Saturday. These three districts were part of Uttar Pradesh before the creation of Uttarakhand state on 9 November 2000 after the reorganization of Uttar Pradesh.