New Delhi: The Bar Council of India informed Friday the Supreme Court that it has convened a meeting of state bar councils. The Bar Council stated that during the meeting it will propose to formulate rules for curtailing strikes by lawyers. It will also discuss regarding initiating action against advocates who participate or instigate others for abstaining from work and strikes on social media.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah was informed by senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, who is the chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI), that they have convened a meeting of all State Bar Associations September 4.
“We will be holding a meeting of all the state Bar Councils and Associations September 4 and we propose to formulate rules to curtail strikes by lawyers and to initiate action against advocates who instigate strikes on social media,” Mishra said. The bench recorded the submission of Mishra and said that it appreciates the action taken by BCI.
On the request of Mishra, the top court posted the matter for further hearing in the third week of September.
At the outset, Mishra apologised for not coming up with suggestions earlier in compliance with the court’s order last year, due to the onset of pandemic.
The top court had said July 26 that it had delivered its verdict February 28 last year and the BCI and the state bar councils were directed to give concrete suggestions to deal with the problem of strikes and abstention from work by lawyers. It had noted that no response has been received from BCI and other state associations. The top court had asked Mishra to render assistance to the court in his capacity as the chairperson of the Bar Council of India.
The top court February 28 last year was irked by lawyers holding strike every Saturday for 35 years in Uttarakhand district courts over reasons like ‘bomb blast in Pakistan’, ‘earthquake in Nepal’ or ‘condolence references for family members’ and had warned the advocates concerned of contempt action if they persisted with it.
Holding the strike illegal, the top court had sought response from BCI and all the State Bar Councils within six weeks to suggest the further course of action to deal with the problem of strikes/abstaining from work by the lawyers.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the issue, the Supreme Court had emphasised that at a time when the judiciary is facing serious problems of pendency and delay in disposal of cases, how can the institution as a whole can afford such four days strike in a month. It had said that every month on 3-4 Saturdays, the advocates are on strike on one pretext or the other and added that had the lawyers worked on those days, it would have achieved the ultimate goal of speedy justice, which is now a fundamental right.
It had said that boycotting courts on every Saturday in the districts of Dehradun, Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand is not justifiable at all and as such it tantamount to contempt of the courts.