Lawyers on strike may face contempt charges – Bombay HC

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In a stern warning to lawyers, the Bombay High Court last week said that those who partake in any sort of strike or other disruptive activities that affect the judiciary’s day-to-day affairs are likely to face contempt charges.

In addition, the Chief Justice Mohit Shah led HC bench hearing the case also said that the Bar Council of Maharashtra with whom the advocates are registered, may also choose to action against such lawyers.

The law with reference to the advocates going on strike is now well settled. It is the duty of every advocate who has accepted a brief to attend trial even though it may go on day-to-day and for a prolonged period. He cannot refuse to attend court merely because a boycott call and/or to go on strike is given by the Bar Association,” the bench observed.

“It is unprofessional as well as unbecoming for a advocate to refuse to attend court even in pursuance of a call for strike or a boycott by the Bar Association or the Bar Council. These views have also been endorsed by the Supreme Court in its judgements.” the Judges remarked.

The HC was hearing a PIL filed by Manoj Laxman Shirsatthe, a lawyer registered with the Bar Council of Maharashtra. In the PIL, the complainant alleged that the strike observed on appeals by the District Bar Associations on August 29, 2013 and by the Bar Council of India on March 11, 2013 were totally illegal.

Meanwhile, Rajendra Raghuvanshi, the Counsel for the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa informed the HC that the Council had already passed a resolution vowing to persuade all the Bar associations in Goa and Maharashtra not to partake in illegal strikes.