The Bombay High Court last Friday rejected the criminal writ petition filed by an advocate seeking declaration of services rendered by lawyers as essential service and thus exempt lawyers from restrictions imposed with regard to movement of traffic during lockdown.
Division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Madhav Jamdar concluded that it was within the exclusive domain of the state legislature to legislate on which services will be included in the list of 'essential services', keeping in view paramount interest of the community.
It was contended on behalf of the petitioner by Advocate Kareem Pathan that on June 29, he was appearing in a bail application filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate at Esplanade court and so he left home on his friend's motorcycle but was stopped by the police on the Western Express Highway. Despite the petitioner showing his advocate ID and telling them about his appearance before the Esplanade Court, the cops did not listen to him and charged a challan of Rs.500.
Thus, said petition was filed seeking inclusion of legal service providers in the category of essential services.
Court perused through the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act, 2017 and observed-
"As it is evident from reading the aims and object and the aforesaid provisions of the said Act that, it is within the exclusive domain of the State Legislature to legislate as to whose services to be included into the essential services, keeping in view paramount interest of the community.
In the present Petition the Petitioner has sought mandatory directions to the 2nd Respondent to include the advocates legal services into "essential services" In our considered view, no mandatory directions, much less directions, can be issued to the State Legislature to include the legal services rendered by the advocates into "essential services". Hence the reliefs claimed in terms of prayer clauses (a) and (c) cannot be granted."
Thereafter, the bench referred to the prayer clause (b) wherein the petitioner sought the challan issued against him to be revoked. Court rejected said prayer noting that the petitioner has an alternative efficacious remedy for claiming the said relief.
Additional Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare, on instructions, submitted that the respondents are ready to consider the grievances raised by the petitioner. To this, petitioner's advocate Kareem Pathan submitted that a comprehensive representation will be filed before the State Government.
Finally, the bench said that respondents were free to consider whatever representation is filed on behalf of the petitioner and rejected the prayers in the petition.