Lawyers’ strike not permissible; will take action against those obstructing litigants or lawyers from entering court: Rajasthan High Court

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The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday said that lawyers are not entitled to resort to strike or abstain from work, and action will be initiated against any person obstructing litigants or lawyers from entering the court premises [Suo Motu v State].

The observation was made by bench of acting Chief Justice Manindra Mohan Shrivastava and Justice Vijay Bishnoi in light of various bar members calling for abstention from work in protest against the murder of a lawyer.

“We reiterate that any attempt made to obstruct any lawyer or litigant from entering the Court and appearing in the Court to argue the matter shall be viewed strictly and they shall be treated as an act of obstruction in the administration of justice and suitable action would be initiated against such persons,” the Court said.

The Court passed the order in a suo-motu plea case registered after taking cognizance of members of the bar abstaining from work.

During the hearing of the matter, the bench urged the Advocate General (AG) MS Singhvi and the members of Bar to address the issue.

The AG submitted that lawyers abstaining from work is contrary to the Supreme Court verdict in the case of Harish Uppal v Union of India other decisions rendered by the apex court from time to time.

He further stated that he was also prevented from attending the court proceedings .

The AG further submitted that he also received a threatening letter form the office bearers of the Bar Association raising grievance that he was not cooperating with the agitation.

The Court opined that it was indeed a serious matter as any act by which a lawyer or litigant is obstructed from appearing in the Court should be construed as impeding the administration of justice.

“Necessary directions are required to be issued. Let the statement so made by the learned Advocate General and also the letter issued to him be placed on record in appropriate manner,” the Court directed.

Additional Solicitor General RD Rastogi appearing for Central government submitted that the law in this regard is well settled and asper the same, abstention from work is not permissible for lawyers.

However, he further added that looking into the situation, attempt may be made to resolve the issue by deliberation and discussion among the stakeholders.

The State Bar Council member informed the Court that it has taken cognisance of the issue and had also moved a resolution on February 25.

It sought time to submit the same before the Court.

The Court, in its order, expressed concerns about the mode of protest adopted by lawyers.

“While there are permissible ways and means to persuade various demands that have been made by the Associations and the Members of the Bar collectively and individually, certainly, in view of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, abstention from work is not one of the ways of doing it,” the bench opined.

The Court after taking into consideration the arguments of counsel noted that a logical attempt has to be made to resolve the dispute.

“For this purpose, the learned Advocate General, learned Additional Solicitor General of India, learned representatives of the Bar Council of Rajasthan and learned Members of the Bar Council of India, representative of Bar Council of State to Bar Council of India may sit together and try to resolve the issue,” the bench directed.

The matter will be taken up next on March 2.

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