"It is unfortunate that clients are suffering for cases which can easily be disposed of but for the reasons that the Members of Bar have been abstaining from judicial work creating a backlog of cases", the Allahabad High Court observed on Monday (02nd November).
The Bench of Justice Jaspreet Singh was hearing the plea of an 80-year-old lady, whose case under Section 210 of the U.P. Revenue Code, 2006, filed on 06.02.2019, is pending before the respondent No.1 (Commissioner, Devi Patan Mandal, Gonda).
Her counsel submitted before the Court that for the reasons beyond her control, the matter is lingering on and as such in the aforesaid circumstances, expeditious disposal of the aforesaid case was prayed for.
On the other hand, the Standing Counsel drew the attention of the Court to a typed copy of the order sheet of the aforesaid proceedings.
Perusing the same, the Court said,
"From the perusal of the same, it indicates that for various reasons, the matter has been pending including for the reason that the Members of the Bar were abstaining from judicial work which resulted in the fixing of general dates."
Further, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that so far as the present petition is concerned, she and her counsel are ready to furnish an undertaking that neither of them shall seek any adjournment on their behest and even if there is a resolution regarding abstinence of judicial work, her counsel shall be present to assist the Court for expeditious disposal.
Considering the submissions of the Counsel for the petitioner, the Court opined that,
"Since the petitioner is 80 years old and the matter is pending since 2019, accordingly, the aforesaid writ petition is disposed of with a direction that the respondent No.1 shall consider and finally decide the pending case Case No.00189 of 2019 within a period of four months from the date a certified copy of this order along with the aforesaid undertaking to be presented before the Court concerned."
The Court also said that in case, if the petitioner fails to furnish the aforesaid undertaking, she shall not be entitled to the benefit of the aforesaid order.
With the aforesaid, the writ petition was disposed of.
It may be noted that last year, the Supreme Court had criticized the call for strikes made by Bar Associations of Allahabad and Oudh observing that they are "not supposed to settle their demands by resorting to strikes which may lead to nothing but delaying the justice to litigants".
In an important judgment delivered in 2019, the Uttarakhand High Court had held that the resort to strikes/boycott of Courts by Advocates is illegal and that it is also, misconduct for which disciplinary action can be taken by the State Bar Council and its Disciplinary Committees.
The Bench comprising the Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma had observed that resort to strikes is unprofessional and unbecoming of an Advocate who, having accepted a brief, cannot refuse to attend Court pursuant to a call for strike or boycott.
In February 2020, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah (Supreme Court) had categorically held that boycott of courts by advocates was illegal, and cannot be justified as an exercise of right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
It may be noted that the Supreme Court in Ex.-Capt. Harish Uppal v. Union of India, (2003) 2 SCC 45 had said,
"the Bar Association/Council cannot call for boycott or strike and only in rarest of rare cases where the dignity, integrity and independence of the Bar and/or the Bench is at stake, the courts may turn a blind eye for one day and further that all lawyers must boldly refuse to abide by any call for strike or boycott and no lawyer can be visited with any adverse consequences by the Association or the Council and no threat or coercion of any nature including that of expulsion can be held out."