12 Sep 2023 2:49 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to a bar association in Odisha for abstaining from court work for a day citing the death of one of its members. Taking a critical view of the decision of the Raigarh Bar Association, the Court said that even though the death of a lawyer is an unfortunate incident, it cannot be a reason to bring the judicial work to a standstill.A bench...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to a bar association in Odisha for abstaining from court work for a day citing the death of one of its members. Taking a critical view of the decision of the Raigarh Bar Association, the Court said that even though the death of a lawyer is an unfortunate incident, it cannot be a reason to bring the judicial work to a standstill.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia was hearing contempt proceedings initiated against lawyers who had indulged in vandalism in court premises during their strike in Odisha last year. In a previous hearing, the Court had expressed disapproval of the practice followed by bar associations in Odisha to suspend a whole day's work as a mark of condolence for the death of a lawyer.
Today, the counsel appearing for the Orissa High Court informed the bench that there has not been any strike so far after the previous orders, except for the one-day abstention by the Bar Association of Raigarh on account of the demise of an advocate. Regarding this, the Bench observed, “unfortunate as the incident may be, this cannot bring judicial working to a standstill” and issued notice to the concerned Bar Association.
Justice Kaul: “Let them come and say that they will not do this in future”.
The Court also gave one last opportunity to the contemnors to file their affidavit. It warned that those who fail to file their affidavit within two weeks will have to remain present before the Court.
During the hearing, one counsel mentioned about the recent strike which took place in the Allahabad High Court last week as a protest against the attack by policemen on lawyers in Hapur.
To this, Justice Kaul replied: “If it comes before us we will deal with it the same way.”
The present contempt proceedings arose in the backdrop of a strike seeking additional Benches of the Orissa High Court by the Central Action Committee of all Bar Associations. Quickly, the agitation went haywire when the advocates indulged in violence. In this context, the Court had held that all the officer bearers of all the Bar Associations who had participated in the strike and indulged in violence would be issued contempt notices.
It is worth mentioning that the said incident took place even after the order passed by the Supreme Court, in the year 2022, wherein the court had specifically warned the protesting lawyers to get back to work or face contempt action and suspension of license. Therein, the Bench noted, with reproach, that 2,14,176 judicial working hours in subordinate courts were lost between January 1 and September 30, 2022, due to the strike. “The effect,” Justice Kaul said, “was to practically bring the working of the judicial system to a standstill, jeopardising the litigating public.”
In its last hearing, the Court noted that out of the 190 lawyers to whom the Apex Court had issued notice, 33 are yet to file their affidavit.
The matter is next posted on November 07, 2023.
The Supreme Court has issued repeated directions against lawyers strikes.
Case Title: M/s. PLR Projects Pvt. Ltd. v. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited And Ors. Diary No. 33859/2022
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