Would pass detailed order to deal with problem of strikes by lawyers: SC

NEW DELHI, Sep 20: Observing that the problem of strikes in courts exists despite firm stand taken by the Bar Council of India (BCI), the Supreme Court Monday said it would pass a detailed order to deal with the problem as litigants have to suffer in view of strikes and boycott of courts.

The top court said if litigants do not get timely justice it would affect the rule of law and credibility of the justice delivery system.

“Despite the firm stand taken by BCI not to encourage boycott of courts, the strikes are being called and courts are boycotted. We would like to pass a comprehensive detailed order on how to deal with the problem,” a bench comprising Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said while posting the matter for further hearing on October 4.

The apex court also indicated that it may consider the constitution of grievance redressal committees at local levels to address the problems of lawyers.

The observations came after noting the submissions of Chairman of the BCI and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra who said that a meeting of office-bearers of all Bar Councils was held and issue of strikes was deliberated upon.

He said there was a unanimous view expressed by all representatives of State Bar Councils that unnecessary and unreasonable strikes and boycotts are not good and the bar bodies should discourage advocates from doing so.

The BCI had earlier informed the apex court that it has convened a meeting of state bar councils and proposes to formulate rules for curtailing strikes by lawyers and initiating action against advocates who participate or instigate others on social media for abstaining from work.

On July 26, the top court had said it had delivered its verdict on 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.

The top court on 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 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 top 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 afford such four days strike in a month.

In its verdict, the high court had noted that “genesis of this peculiar form” of protest of boycotting work on Saturdays for over 35 years was traceable to western Uttar Pradesh, of which the aforesaid districts formed part of, before the state of Uttarakhand was created on November 9, 2000. (PTI)