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Court Boycott : Supreme Court Issues Contempt Notice To Rajasthan HC Bar Association At Jaipur

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 Oct 2021 7:40 AM GMT
Court Boycott : Supreme Court Issues Contempt Notice To Rajasthan HC Bar Association At Jaipur
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The Supreme Court on Monday issued contempt notice to the office bearers of the Bar Association of the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur for boycotting a bench of the High Court as part of strike.A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna noted that despite repeated judgments of the Supreme Court which prohibit court boycotts and deprecated lawyers strikes, the Jaipur HC Bar Association...

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued contempt notice to the office bearers of the Bar Association of the Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur for boycotting a bench of the High Court as part of strike.

A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna noted that despite repeated judgments of the Supreme Court which prohibit court boycotts and deprecated lawyers strikes, the Jaipur HC Bar Association went on a strike on September 27.

Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India, informed the bench that the BCI has issued a notice to the Jaipur Bar Association over the boycott and that they have replied stating that the boycott was only with respect to only one court of the High Court.

The Supreme Court sternly said that even the boycott of only one court room cannot be tolerated.

"Even that also cannot be tolerated. To boycott only one court will hamper the independence of judiciary and there may be a pressure on the particular judge whose court is boycotted and it may lead to demoralize the judiciary", the Supreme Court stated in the order.

"Issue notice upon the President, Secretary and the Office Bearers of the Bar Association of High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur to show cause why contempt  proceedings may not be initiated against them", the order stated.

The notices, which are directed to be served on the respondents through the Registrar General of the High Court, are returnable on October 25.

"To go on strike by the Bar Association and the lawyers is absolutely contemptuous and just contrary to the earlier decisions of this Court in the case of Ex-Capt. Harish Uppal vs. Union of India, (2003) 2 SCC 45; Common Cause, A Registered Society vs. Union of India, (2006) 9 SCC 295; Krishnakant Tamrakar vs.State of M.P., (2018) 17 SCC 27 and District Bar Association,Dehradun through its Secretary vs Ishwar Shandilya & Ors., 2020 SCC Online SC 24", the order noted.

The issue relates 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.

Supreme Court's contempt notice

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 vs 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.

 The suo motu action of the Court came while dismissing an appeal filed by the District Bar Association Dehradun against a judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court which declared the lawyers strikes illegal.

Click here to read/download the order

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