BCI Directs All Bar Associations To Hold Nationwide Demonstration In October For Insurance, Pension Etc, & Lawyers’ Right To Strike
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has called on the Bar Associations throughout the country to participate in a nationwide demonstration to be held some time in October this year, to protest against issues ranging from their right to call for strikes and their demand for insurance, medi-claim, pension, stipend and other welfare measures for lawyers.
To this end, it has directed every Bar Association of the country to meet on 17 September at their respective headquarters and organise an awareness drive among the legal fraternity. The resolution provides the following agenda for these meetings:
- To consider the judgment dated 28.03.2018 passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the Criminal Appeal No. 470/2018 arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 9399/2017 titled as Krishnakant Tamrakar v. The State of Madhya Pradesh. By the said judgment, the Hon’ble Apex Court has restrained the Bar Associations/Bar Councils to give a call for strike/boycott/abstention(s) of the Court in any event. The judgment is a direct attack on the fundamental rights of the lawyers. The meeting is being held to consider the line of action in this regard.
[Note: the Supreme Court had, in Krishnakant Tamrakar v. State of MP, opined that “strikes are in violation of law laid down by this Court”, and that “the office bearers of the associations who give call for the strikes cannot disown their liability for contempt”.]
- To consider to make a demand from the Union as well as the State Governments for the provisions for insurance, medi-claim, pension, stipend and other welfare measures for the Lawyers. At many places there are no proper sitting arrangements for the Lawyers and the Governments are totally slack on the issue and even the Courts have never tried to look into these aspects of the matter.
- To consider the Draft Bill of the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission) Act, 2018 by which the Government is trying to take away the powers of Lawyers’ bodies.
The resolution was passed in a joint meeting of the BCI with the representatives of all State Bar Councils, Delhi High Court Bar Associations, and District Bar Associations of Delhi and NCR. The meeting was held on 1 September in Delhi.
During the meetings directed to be convened, the BCI asks such Bar Associations to acquaint the lawyers with the Supreme Court judgment, alleging that the judgment was passed “in order to shut mouth of the leaders of the lawyers in order to directly or indirectly help the Government in passing the anti-lawyers legislatures (sic)”.
The next step, it says, should be passing of a resolution asserting the rights of the lawyers, and the handing over of such resolution to the Chief Minister and the government. The resolution has also been directed to be highlighted in the media by holding a press conference.
Calling for a “nationwide agitation”, it then directs formation of two steering committees— a 21 member Central Steering Committee and a 15 member State Steering Committee.
The Central Steering Committee, which shall be constituted within a week, is expected to comprise of members of the Delhi Bar Council, Bar Associations Coordination Committees and representatives of the State Bar Council. A demonstration from the Supreme Court to the Parliament is on the cards. The second Committee will be formed by the State Bar Council in consultation with BCI members, in order to steer the agitation.
The resolution also proposes that:
- Section 34 of the Advocates Act, 1961 be abolished. The provision empowers the High Courts to frame rules, including rules regarding condition on which a person (including an advocate) can practice in the Supreme Court, High Courts and courts subordinate thereto.
- The Higher Education Commission Bill be withdrawn.
- Appointments of judges in all courts of the country be made after holding consultations with the leaders of the Bar Councils. Judicial accountability legislation be enacted.
- An Advocates Protection Act be passed at the Central level, to include provisions for their welfare.
- Rs. 25 lakhs be sanctioned for the flood-affected lawyers in the State of Kerala.
All State Bar Councils have been requested to translate the letter in regional languages and send them to all Bar Associations in their State.Read the Resolution Here