New Delhi Aug 27(ILNS): The Bar Council of India (BCI) told the Supreme Court on Friday that it will frame rules to punish those lawyers who indulge in strikes, provoke lawyers through social media to abstain from work, and refuse to attend court proceedings.
A bench comprising of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah was informed by BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, that they have convened a meeting of all State Bar Associations on September 4. The Apex Court was hearing an appeal filed by District Bar Association, Dehradun against the judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court holding strikes/boycotts of courts by advocates to be illegal.
The bench recorded Mishra’s submission, adding that it appreciates BCI’s action. The apex court also posted the matter for further hearing in the third week of September at the request of the chairman of the BCI. At the outset, Mishra apologized for not coming up with suggestions earlier in compliance with the court’s order last year, due to the onset of the pandemic.
Earlier, the Court had said that boycotting courts every Saturday in Dehradun, Haridwar, and Udham Singh Nagar districts of Uttarakhand was not justified and it amounted to contempt of court. Noting that the lawyers were on strike for three to four days during a month, the top court observed that if the lawyers had worked during those days, it would have helped in getting speedy justice.
The Supreme Court had on July 26 referred to its February 28, 2020 judgment, which had directed the BCI and the state bar council to suggest measures to stop the lawyers’ strike and their boycott of court proceedings. The top court had asked the BCI president to help on the issue. Taking suo motu cognizance of the issue on February 28, 2020, the Apex Court had emphasized that at a time when the judiciary is facing serious problems of pendency and delay in disposal of cases, how can the institution as a whole afford four-day strikes in a month. The judgment had expressed concern over the lawyers’ strike./ILNS/SS/SNG