9 May 2023 6:09 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the Bar Council of India on the steps to be taken to ensure that advocates do not go on strikes, abstaining from court work. A Bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjay Kumar, while considering a contempt petition filed by NGO, Common cause pertaining to advocates’ strikes, asked the BCI on the progress of amending the existing rules. “You...
The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the Bar Council of India on the steps to be taken to ensure that advocates do not go on strikes, abstaining from court work.
A Bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjay Kumar, while considering a contempt petition filed by NGO, Common cause pertaining to advocates’ strikes, asked the BCI on the progress of amending the existing rules.
“You had proposed before us that you were planning to amend the rules. What is the progress of that?”
“Rules in consultation with all other Bar councils”, Chairman of Bar Council, Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra said.
“Last week, we convened a meeting in consultation with all the state bar councils. This was one of the agenda(s). On the basis of the suggestions made by different district bar councils, we are framing the rules”, he said.
“Have you drawn up some minutes on what has been deliberated upon?”, the Bench asked.
Mishra stated that one of the primary issues was that there is no forum for redressal of the advocates’ grievances.
That aspect is taken care as we are expecting High Court’s to form committees now, the Court said. Another Bench of the Top Court had recently requested all high courts to constitute grievance redressal committees comprising the Chief Justice and two other senior judges, one from the Bar and another from services, so as to avoid circumstances forcing lawyers to go on strikes.
“The point here – mechanism in place is okay. In Harish Uppal case, the dictum of the Supreme Court is that you can’t go on strike. Despite that, things do happen. The point here for BCI is only this much – if there are still shortcomings or faults on the part of particular individual or a body, how do you deal with them by way of your statutory rules? That’s what we wanted to take up”, the Bench added.
Rules will be finalized with a week, Mishra assured while adding that the decision is to dissolve such bar associations if they do go on strikes.
‘If you are compelled to take such a coercive step, you have to do it, you can’t help it. If somebody does a thing which is impermissible in law, then you are forced to do it.’, the Bench remarked. It added that this was exactly what’s being done during the disciplinary proceedings; the Bar deals with someone who isn’t conforming with the professional etiquette and standard of the Bar’, the Bench commented.
“All they had to do was make a simple amendment, that going on strike will be considered as professional misconduct”, Advocate Prashant Bhushan for the petitioners, said.
“Learned Chairman, Bar Council of India Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra, and learned counsel Mr. Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad submit that further steps have been taken for amending the Rules as submitted before the Court on the last few occasions and in that regard, meeting of the representatives of all the State Bar Councils took place during the last week; and pursuant to the decision taken therein, the Bar Council of India is actively considering the necessary amendment to the Rules. The submissions are taken note of”, the Court then recorded in its order.
The matter will be next heard on July 17.
Case Title: Common Cause vs Abhijat and Ors. - CONMT. PET. (C) No. 550/2015 in W. P. (C) No. 821/1990
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