19 Nov 2021 9:19 AM GMT
The Supreme Court has rejected the affidavits of apology tendered by the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association at Jaipur for boycotting a court, observing that the aplogy was not unconditional and unqualified.The Court has directed the office bearers of the Association to come up with a better affidavit and also to to come out with a Resolution stating that the Bar Association in...
The Supreme Court has rejected the affidavits of apology tendered by the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association at Jaipur for boycotting a court, observing that the aplogy was not unconditional and unqualified.
The Court has directed the office bearers of the Association to come up with a better affidavit and also to to come out with a Resolution stating that the Bar Association in future shall not repeat the acts of boycotting Single Judge's court, go on strike, pressurise the Chief Justice of the High Court to change the Roster of a particular Judge or the Bench and pressurise Chief Justice and/or any other Judge(s) in any manner whatsoever.
The bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna in their order said,
"Two affidavits which are affirmed by the President of the Bar Association and the Secretary of the Bar Association are filed tendering unconditional apology. The wording used in the affidavits cannot be said to be tendering unconditional and unqualified apology.
We reject and return the affidavits with a liberty to the office bearers of the Association to file a better affidavit and also to come out with a Resolution of the Bar Association that in future such acts shall not be repeated and that the Bar Association shall not go on strike and/or pressurise and Chief Justice and/or any other Judge(s) in any manner whatsoever and even pressurise the Chief Justice of the High Court to change the Roster of a particular Judge or the Bench."
On behalf of the request of Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave appearing for the office bearers of the Bar Association the Top Court adjourned the matter for November 25, 2021 to enable them to file a better affidavit, to pass a Resolution and be present before the Top Court.
The Supreme Court on November 16, 2021 had observed with dismay that office bearers of the Bar Association of the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur have not taken seriously the contempt notice issued to them for boycotting a bench of the High Court as part of a strike.
On October 5, 2021, the Court had issued notice and had directed the President, Secretary and the Office Bearers of the Bar Association of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur to show cause why contempt proceedings may not be initiated against them.
On a later hearing date, the Supreme Court had observed that no bar association can put pressurize the Chief Justice to change the roster of a judge.
The issue related to the Jaipur Bar Association's boycott of the court of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma. The resolution for the boycott was passed after the judge reportedly refused to give an urgent listing to a petition seeking protection for a lawyer. The association demanded that the roster be changed to remove criminal matters from the bench of Justice Sharma. In a related development, the Central Government notified the transfer of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma to Madhya Pradesh High Court two days back, pursuant to a Supreme Court collegium recommendation made in October.
A Bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna remarked on Tuesday that it was unfortunate that no counter affidavit till date had been filed by the office bearers of the Bar Association who were in contempt.
"Despite the fact that the Office-bearers of the Bar Association, who are alleged to be in contempt are served long back and earlier also the matter was adjourned at their instance, it is very unfortunate that no counter has been filed till date", the Court had observed.
Opining further that the office bearers had not given due credence to the contempt notice, the Bench remarked,
"There is no response in writing by the Office Bearers of the Bar Association. It appears prima facie that the Bar Association has not taken the matter very seriously."
The Bench had also taken on record a detailed report submitted by the Registrar General of the Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur Bench pursuant to the Court's earlier order. Pursuant to a perusal of the report, the Bench remarked that the contents of the report are 'shocking'.
The Supreme Court issued the show-cause notice for contempt to the Jaipur Bar Association in the case District Bar Association, Dehradun through its Secretary v. Ishwar Shandilya & Ors, in which it has taken suo motu cognizance of the trend of lawyers strikes. The bench had earlier sought the assistance of the Bar Council of India to address the issue.
The Bar Council of India later told the bench that after a meeting with the State Bar Councils, it is proposing to frame rules to curtail strikes by lawyers and court boycotts and to take action against bar associations who act in breach and against advocates who promote such strikes through social media.
On a subsequent hearing date, the bench said that it will pass a "detailed order" to deal with this issue. The bench also observed that it is considering setting up grievance redressal mechanism at local levels for lawyers so that their legitimate grievances can be addressed through a proper platform instead of resorting to strikes.
On February 28, 2020, the Supreme Court, taking a serious note of the fact that despite consistent decisions of the Court, the lawyers/Bar Associations go on strikes, had taken suo moto cognisance and issued notices to the Bar Council of India and all the State Bar Councils to suggest the further course of action and to give concrete suggestions to deal with the problem of strikes/abstaining the work by the lawyers.
Case Title: District Bar Association Dehradun v. Ishwar Shandilya and Ors
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